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Match Preview – RCB vs DC 62nd Match, IPL


Match details

Royal Challengers Bengaluru (7th, P12, W5, L7) vs Delhi Capitals (5th, P12, W6, L6)
Bengaluru, 7.30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big picture: Has the surge come too late for RCB and DC?

RCB have won their last four games on the bounce, and Delhi Capitals have won three of their last five. Their key players have clicked in unison more often than not over recent weeks. Unfortunately for both teams, though, all this may have come a little too late in the season. Both teams are still in contention for the playoffs, but neither has its destiny entirely in its own hands – read this for a more in-depth understanding of where they stand.

Both teams can still control their ends of the bargain, though, and this is what RCB and DC will look to do going into their first meeting of the season, at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Sunday night. DC are better-placed than RCB at this stage, with two extra points from the same number of games, but they might just be underdogs going into this contest. RCB are in a serious run of form, and they will be backed by one of the most fervent home crowds in the tournament. And DC, most significantly, will be without their captain and talisman Rishabh Pant.

Form guide

Royal Challengers Bengaluru WWWWL (last five completed games, most recent first)
Delhi Capitals WLWWL

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Royal Challengers Bengaluru
RCB have used either Glenn Maxwell or Lockie Ferguson as their fourth overseas player in recent games, depending on conditions and opposition. Maxwell’s record against Kuldeep Yadav (79 off 45 balls, four dismissals, strike rate of 175.55) could prompt RCB to play him in this match, given how much better DC’s attack looks when the left-arm wristspinner is able to control proceedings. If RCB play Ferguson instead, expect Mahipal Lomror to play rather than Vijaykumar Vyshak.

Possible XII 1 Virat Kohli, 2 Faf du Plessis (capt), 3 Will Jacks, 4 Rajat Patidar, 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Cameron Green, 7 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 8 Swapnil Singh, 9 Karn Sharma, 10 Mohammed Siraj, 11 Vijaykumar Vyshak, 12 Yash Dayal.

Delhi Capitals
DC coach Ricky Ponting has confirmed Axar Patel will captain the team in Pant’s absence. He also suggested that David Warner – who has missed four successive games with a hand injury – could be fit to return, having trained on both Friday and Saturday. Ponting, meanwhile, hinted at an opposition-specific bowling selection, with the Australian quick Jhye Richardson in line to play as a new-ball specialist to try and break through a strong RCB top order.

Which Indian batter comes in for Pant remains to be seen. Prithvi Shaw is an option, but with Ponting indicating that Abishek Porel was likely to continue opening, DC may prefer a middle-order batter, in which case Yash Dhull or Kumar Kushagra could get a game.

Possible XII 1 Jake Fraser-McGurk, 2 Abishek Porel (wk), 3 David Warner/Shai Hope, 4 Yash Dhull/Kumar Kushagra, 5 Tristan Stubbs, 6 Axar Patel, 7 Lalit Yadav/Sumit Kumar, 8 Rasikh Salam, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Mukesh Kumar, 11 Jhye Richardson, 12 Khaleel Ahmed.

In the spotlight

At the 12-game mark in the season, DC have the spin attack with the best collective average of all teams this season (24.88) and the fourth-best economy rate (8.18). Up against them through the middle overs, though, will be Rajat Patidar, who has the second-best strike rate against spin (229.85) of any batter who has scored at least 100 runs against that style of bowling this season. With Virat Kohli also having upped his intent and shot range against spin in recent games, with telling effect, we could be in for a mouthwatering middle-overs battle.

RCB have opened the bowling with a spinner in each of their last four games, with either left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh or offspinner Will Jacks bowling the first over depending on their opposition’s opening combination. It will be interesting to see if they try this tactic against DC, who will have a left-right combination if either Warner or Porel opens alongside Jake Fraser-McGurk. And no matter who bowls at him, Fraser-McGurk will look to hit the ball out of the park. He’s struck at 255.20 in the powerplay this season, going at 244.57 against pace in this phase, and a ludicrous 323.07 against spin.

Stats that matter

  • RCB have won four of the last five meetings between these two teams.
  • In 11 T20s, Kohli has only been out once to Axar, but he’s only scored 78 off 71 balls against the left-arm spinner. DC will be happy for the match-up to continue in this manner, but the events of recent matches suggest that Kohli may play Axar differently if he gets the chance, bringing out his rediscovered sweep and slog-sweep at every opportunity.
  • Dinesh Karthik enjoys batting against Khaleel Ahmed, scoring 28 off 14 balls against the left-arm quick while only being dismissed once.
  • Tristan Stubbs (187 runs at a strike rate of 296.82) and Karthik (180 at 233.76) are the most prolific run-scorers in the death overs (17-20) in IPL 2024.
  • Pitch and conditions

    It’s no surprise that the match that produced the record IPL total and the record run aggregate for any T20 game came at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. It’s a bit of a surprise, though, that there have been no 200-plus totals in any of the other four matches at the venue so far this season. There was early help for the new ball in the most recent match here, where RCB bowled Gujarat Titans out for 147, and it will be interesting to see if conditions on Sunday night bring fast bowlers into the game in a similar way. It has rained on and off in the evenings in the week leading up to the match, and weather interruptions could be likely.

    Quotes

    “The position I was going [in] to bat was very challenging for me, because this year I’ve got a new role, getting to play in the middle order, so I’ve done some changes […] I spoke with Virat bhai, DK bhai, who have a lot of experience, so I think that helped a lot […] If you’re going at the top of the order, you get some extra cushion to think and plan your innings, but if you’re going around the 10th-11th over, you don’t get that cushion. You have to be really quick in making your decision. It helped me a lot to talk with the great players in our team.”
    Rajat Patidar on the move from the top three to the middle order this season

    “Obviously Rishabh Pant is not there, so we’ve got to think about an Indian middle-order player potentially to come in for him. David Warner missed the last game. He got that nasty knock on his hand about a month ago now, hasn’t played a game since. He trained really strongly yesterday. He’s here now. He’ll be up hitting balls in the middle now, so he’ll be doing some more batting today, so hopefully he’s available for selection tomorrow. There’s a chance against RCB as well, with their dominance at the top of the order, that we might think about changing our bowling line-up as well, someone like a Jhye Richardson to bring into the side as a specialist new-ball bowler to potentially take early wickets against RCB.”
    DC head coach Ricky Ponting on the selection calls he’s mulling over

    Karthik Krishnaswamy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo



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