Wounded RCB look to bounce back 

08-04-2017
DH

The Challengers had very little positives to take from their 35-run defeat to the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday. Barring the fighting effort from their top order batsmen, RCB were outplayed in all departments by the Sunrisers. 

As much as they are popular for their tremendous comebacks, the Challengers are also known for being slow starters. In many of the previous seasons, RCB revived their campaigns on the back of some inspirational performances from the senior crop. But with many of their key players not available, at least in the early part of the current edition, it is a big test for the Challengers to get their combination right as early as possible. 

AB de Villiers’ absence owing to a back injury for the second straight game is a blow and the onus is on seniors Chris Gayle and stand-in skipper Shane Watson to lead the batting charge. Gayle looked good till he lasted against the Sunrisers and the left-hander will be Daredevils’ main target. 

Watson though wasn’t entirely convincing in his 17-ball 22. The Australian all-rounder, who was the main man in RCB’s middle-order last season, had hinted that he might bat up the order this time around. But Watson stuck to his regular position in the first game. 

“The team management take the decision on my batting position and currently they want me to bat at No five. I have been batting in the middle-order in the Pakistan Super League (PSL) and even lower-down the order in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL). I have been practising to bat in the middle-order for a while now and it’s just that I couldn’t execute my plans against the Sunrisers,” reasoned Watson. 

Though RCB do not lack options in their batting department the inexperience factor could hit them. Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav and Travis Head are in good touch but they will have to put more value for their wickets if RCB have to collectively fire as a batting unit in their first home game.

Samuel Badree also missed the first game and the leg-spinner could be picked in place of a pacer. Chinnaswamy has not been a happy hunting ground for the pacers and the RCB fast bowlers, who were disappointing against Hyderabad, will have to be more disciplined. 

The Daredevils received a blow when promising batsman Shreyas Iyer was ruled out due to chicken pox. Delhi’s strength lies in their pace attack, featuring big names like skipper Zaheer Khan, Kagiso Rabada, Mohammed Shami and Pat Cummins. The Daredevils’ batting line up gives a picture of a young brigade high on talent. The likes of Rishabh Pant, Karun Nair and Sanju Samson can be dangerous once they find their grooves. 

Delhi’s poor overall track record in the previous editions, caused due to inconsistency, makes them the underdogs in the tie but they would be keen to make a statement. 
Match factsTickets: Ticketgenie.in, ticket operations partner for IPL, confirmed that close to 70 per cent of the tickets have been sold out and they are expecting a full house on Saturday. Opening ceremony: Bollywood actress Kriti Sanon will be performing at the opening ceremony which begins at 6:30 pm.Public entry: The stadium gates will open from 4:30 pm onwards.Restrictions: Helmets, laptops, plastic materials and any other sharp objects will not be allowed.

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