Bengaluru: Riding high after an emphatic victory against Kings XI Punjab, a rejuvenated Delhi Daredevils will aim at posing a serious challenge to a formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore when the two teams square off in IPL encounter, here on Sunday.
After being battered in the first game, Daredevils have comeback strongly with an eight-wicket win over KXIP but they will now be facing RCB, who have also notched up a comprehensive 45-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad in their opening game.
On paper, RCB is a far better side with the most prolific batting line-up in IPL that boasts of skipper Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson. Not to forget the presence of young talent Sarfaraz Khan and domestic heavyweight Kedar Jadhav.
But Delhi has experience in their bowling ranks with Zaheer Khan leading the pack showing what is still left in his armory. Currently India's best leg-spinner Amit Mishra has time and again risen upto the occasion as he did against KXIp with figures of 4/11.
Together, they will like to stop the RCB from going all-out on a ground, whose boundaries are too short for comfort.
De Villiers (82) and Kohli (75) added a whopping 157 runs in their win against Sunrisers and it will be a challenge for Mishra and Zaheer to stop the duo from sending them on a leatherhunt.
But it is the Delhi batting that will be put to test as they floundered in the first match getting all-out for 98 and then went untested in the second game as the target was a meagre 112.
Looking for an elusive title, RCB will like to come out all guns blazing. For academic interest, RCB are placed second in the league -table with two points from a game whereas Delhi have identical points having played a game more. With the league just starting off, the table is of little or no consequence.
Kohli, who set Chinnaswamy Stadium on fire, by scoring 51-ball-75 against Hyderabad, will like to carry on the good form for his team.
Considered as one of the best batsman in the world at present, Kohli has been in supreme form having amassed 273 runs in five ICC World T20 matches bagging 'Player of the tournament' award apart from being named captain of the ICC World XI.
De Villiers, who cracked 82 off 42, would also like to continue the good work he had been doing for the franchise over the years.
Watson, who proved his worth by producing an all-round show against Hyderabad by picking up two wickets and making a quickfire 19 off 8 balls alongside Sarfaraz Khan, will hope to repeat the exploits.
Sarfaraz impressed one and all for his 10-ball 35 will face the guile of Mishra and experience of Zaheer.
New Zealand quick Adam Milne will lead the pace attack in the company of Watson and Harshal Patel. If required, RCB might utilise other bowlers like Kane Richardson, Sreenath Arvind and Varun Aaron.
Bangalore also will be keen on hearing the progress of West Indies leg-spinner Samuel Badree, who is yet to recover from a shoulder injury suffered during the World T20.
In Badree's absence, Yuzuvendra Chahal led the spin attack, and would like to repeat his feat of bagging two wickets in the previous match in the company of Parvez Rasool, who claimed the prized wicket of Shikhar Dhawan.
Chahal has had fairly good outings in a couple of previous IPL seasons by taking 15 wickets in 2015 and 14 wickets in 2014.
On the other hand, after opening their account in the previous game, Delhi would be looking to bank on their opener Quinton de Kock, who came up with an impressive 59 not out which helped them to open accounts in the IPL.
Delhi's fortune will also depend on the performances of JP Duminy, Karun Nair, Pawan Negi and Carlos Brathwaite, who are capable enough to win matches for their team.
Brathwaite became the toast of the cricketing world after hitting England's Ben Stokes for four consecutive sixes to win the ICC World T20 final for the West Indies, would like to make a big impact by repeating the feat.
Similarly, all-rounder Negi, who was bought for 8.5 crores, becoming the most expensive Indian player in the IPL Auction of 2016, also hope to step up, especially after he blasted a six in the 14th over as Delhi overhauled the target of 112 with 39 balls to spare at the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Shane Watson, Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli (captain), Stuart Binny, Samuel Badree, Iqbal Abdulla, Sreenath Aravind, Kedar Jadhav, Vikramjeet Malik, Kane Richardson, Varun Aaron, Mandeep Singh, Abu Nechim, Adam Milne, Mitchell Starc, Yuzvendra Chahal, Harshal Patel, Travis Head, David Wiese, Sachin Baby, Lokesh Rahul, Parvez Rasool, Vikas Tokas, Sarfaraz Khan, Praveen Dubey, Akshay Karnewar
Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (captain), Quinton de Kock (wicketkeeper), JP Duminy, Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Pawan Negi, Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Pawan Suyal, Jayant Yadav, Chris Morris, Sam Billings, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Imran Tahir, Mahipal Lomor, Chama Milind, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed, Akhil Herwadkar, Pratyush Singh.
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