Tough test for RCB against Daredevils

Tough test for RCB against Daredevils

 For someone who had not picked up a bat for close to a month, Chris Gayle didn’t look bad at all during his unbeaten 55-ball 102 that knocked stuffing out of his former team Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens on Friday.

As Royal Challengers Bangalore prepare for their sixth match of season four of the Indian Premier League against Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday night at the Feroze Shah Kotla, the big West Indian looms as the biggest threat for the hosts.

Any three-figure mark has to be special and particularly so in a T20 game. From Brendon McCullum’s 158 against Bangalore in IPL’s first ever match to Sachin Tendulkar’s maiden T20 ton against Kochi Tuskers Kerala this edition, they have all been exceptional efforts. But for sheer timing, intent and impact, Gayle’s hundred has been most compelling.

Undoubtedly, Gayle has provided a whole new dimension to the Royal Challengers. A batting line-up that appeared brittle after three successive defeats suddenly wears a cloak of solidity. Given Gayle’s style of batting, the left-hander can’t be expected to consistently churn out good scores but once he gets going, he is a storm no force can stop. Together with Tillakaratne Dilshan, himself an explosive batsman, Gayle forms a fearsome combination at the top of the tree, giving a clear head-start against their rivals.
Having arrested their four-match winless streak, the Challengers will look to capitalise on this psychological advantage as much as their opponents on Tuesday. The Daredevils have their own demolition squad at the top of the order. Virender Sehwag and David Warner, a right-left combination like Bangalore’s opening pair, showed the kind of mayhem they are capable of unleashing against Kings XI Punjab on Saturday night with brutal half-centuries that set the base for only their second win in six attempts.

With bowlers from either side -- barring a few exceptions -- looking out of sorts, it appears a battle between batsmen on a wicket that promises plenty of runs. For long, Delhi surfaces have been notorious for their slow and low nature, making for painful viewing. Against Kings XI, though, Delhi dished out a square that had plenty of bounce and carry that made stroke-making easy. Having tasted blood, the hosts have decided to play on the same pitch in the hope of out-batting their opponents. It’s a ploy that may well backfire.

The equations could have slightly favoured Delhi had a certain Gayle not been there because the southpaw, whose game isn’t too dissimilar to Sehwag or Warner’s, provides the cutting edge to RCB batting that on paper is as imposing as anybody’s. Though Bangalore batsmen have failed to assert their class as much as they would have liked to, their depth provides them an upper hand. While a good start is more than welcome, Delhi look more vulnerable if their openers fail to get going.

Daniel Vettori’s men would do with some improved show from the bowlers as well on a surface that will demand more discipline. Zaheer Khan has been less than impressive and his below par show has blunted their attack. Vettori has been parsimonious and RCB may have just found a surprise package in Syed Mohammad, who was right on the money on his IPL debut against Kolkata. The left-arm spinner, however, will face a sterner test against Delhi.

Teams (from):

Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (capt), David Warner, Y Venugopala Rao, Aaron Finch, Naman Ojha, James Hopes, Irfan Pathan, Yogesh Nagar, Ajit Agarkar, Morne Morkel, Varun Aaron, Robin Bist, Matthew Wade, Ajit Chandilya, Andrew McDoland, Shahbaz Nadeem, Prashant Naik, Avishkar Salvi, Roelof van der Merwe, Vikash Mishra, Travis Birt, Unmukt Chand, Ashok Dinda, Robert Frylinck, Rajesh Powar, Sridharan Sriram, Tejaswi Yadav, Vivek Yadav.  

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Daniel Vettori (capt), Chris Gayle, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Saurabh Tiwary, Cheteshwar Pujara, Zaheer Khan, S Arvind, Syed Mohammad, Johan van der Wath, Ryan Ninan, Mayank Agarwal, Asad Pathan, Charl Langeveldt, Abhimanyu Mithun, Rilee Rossouw, Jonathan Vandiar, CM Gautam, Luke Pomersbach, Nuwan Pradeep, Mohammad Kaif, Abrar Kazi, KB Arun Karthik, BN Bharath.

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