Updated May 11th, 2024 at 15:57 IST

In-form RCB eye fifth win in a row against Pant-less DC

Pushed into a tight corner, Royal Challengers Bengaluru rose above their frailties to notch four wins on the trot to stay alive in the race to play-offs, but Delhi Capitals even sans their suspended skipper Rishabh Pant offer them a different challenge in the IPL match here on Sunday.

RCB look to win 5th on the trot. | Image:ipl/bcci
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Pushed into a tight corner, Royal Challengers Bengaluru rose above their frailties to notch four wins on the trot to stay alive in the race to play-offs, but Delhi Capitals even sans their suspended skipper Rishabh Pant offer them a different challenge in the IPL match here on Sunday.

Pant was suspended for one match and handed a fine of Rs 30 lakh for maintaining slow over rate against Rajasthan Royals at Delhi on May 7.

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It was DC’s third offence of the season; hence the suspension came in vogue immediately leading to Pant missing the match against RCB.

While the absence of Pant will certainly give RCB an edge, they can’t get themselves lulled into a comfort zone.

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In the run-up to this match, RCB defeated Gujarat Titans twice, Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad once each.

While the victory over SRH was valiant, RCB did not face much challenge from the floundering Titans and Kings.

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But the Capitals are a team unlike any other as they have oscillated between brilliant and ordinary in the span of a few days.

On April 27, the Pant-led side posted a hefty 257/4 in their 10-run win over Mumbai Indians and on April 29, they made a lowly 153/9 while capitulating against Kolkata Knight Riders.

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The RCB, currently seventh with 10 points from 12 matches, will desperately hope not to run into that brilliant Capitals as a defeat can undo their good work in the last four matches.

But their confidence will be high, courtesy strong and consistent batting effort led by talisman Virat Kohli.

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Kohli is the leading run-getter in this IPL with 634 runs but, more importantly, those runs have come at a brisk rate of 153, giving RCB early momentum while setting or chasing targets.

Along with Kohli, additional runs from skipper Faf du Plessis, Rajat Patidar, Cameron Green and Dinesh Karthik have provided their bowlers, who have responded to the call splendidly, with a cushion.

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The transformation of RCB bowlers in the last four matches have been nothing short of remarkable.

Mohammed Siraj has found his mojo after a 10-day break, and he has received excellent backing from fellow pacer Yash Dayal and left-arm spinner Swapnil Singh.

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After the match against PBKS, the overall run-rate of Siraj (9.4) and Dayal (9) have gone under 10 for the first time this season, not a mean feat in a tournament where runs were scored at a breakneck pace.

Their skills will be tested first by Jack Fraser-McGurk, who has teed off to make 309 runs from seven matches at an impressive strike-rate of 235.87.

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McGurk took the opener's slot once David Warner – 167 runs from 7 matches at a strike rate of 135 – had to sit out with an injury, and he has not made the absence of the veteran felt even once.

His opening partner Abhishek Porel too has made runs at 157 strike rate, though the DC management will be happier to see him adding more consistency to his game.

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Pant and Tristan Stubbs too have been among runs made at a fair clip but now without the skipper the DC middle-order will further lean on Stubbs for momentum.

But in the bowling department, DC will feel that they might have a slight edge.

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Spinners Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel have been thrifty while sharing 24 wickets among them as they have maintained economy rates of 8.2 and 7.3 respectively – gold dust while others have gone above 10.

Their combined eight overs will have a massive say in the match, as the wrist-spinner and his left-arm comrade will have to contain the free-flowing RCB batters in the middle phase.

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If pacers Khaleel Ahmed (14 wickets, 9.68) and Mukesh Kumar (15 wickets, 10.94) can inflict some blows upfront, DC can hope to contain the home side.

Teams (from): Royal Challengers Bengaluru: Faf du Plessis (c), Glenn Maxwell, Virat Kohli, Rajat Patidar, Anuj Rawat, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Suyash Prabhudessai, Will Jacks, Mahipal Lomror, Karn Sharma, Manoj Bhandage, Mayank Dagar, Vijaykumar Vyshak, Akash Deep, Mohammed Siraj, Reece Topley, Himanshu Sharma, Rajan Kumar, Cameron Green, Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal, Tom Curran, Lockie Ferguson, Swapnil Singh, Saurav Chauhan.

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Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Abishek Porel, Shai Hope, Rishabh Pant (wk/c, suspended and unavailable), Sumit Kumar, Tristan Stubbs, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Mukesh Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Kumar Kushagra, Praveen Dubey, Lalit Yadav, Lizaad Williams, David Warner, Jhye Richardson, Anrich Nortje, Yash Dhull, Mitchell Marsh, Ricky Bhui, Rasikh Dar Salam, Vicky Ostwal, Swastik Chikara.

Match starts at 7.30 PM.

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Published May 11th, 2024 at 15:57 IST