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IPL 2024 | Resurgent RCB seek to stay afloat

With 10 points from 12 games, the Royal Challengers are currently in seventh spot and they have to win both their remaining games — against a Rishabh Pant-less DC on Sunday and then versus defending champions Chennai Super Kings on May 18 (also at home) — to stand a chance of making the cut for the last-four.
Last Updated : 11 May 2024, 17:03 IST
Last Updated : 11 May 2024, 17:03 IST

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Bengaluru: The question on most Royal Challengers Bengaluru faithful’s minds as their team hosts Delhi Capitals in a crunch IPL clash here on Sunday is if their side can still make the play-offs. The answer is yes, but a lot of things have to go their way over the next week given the mad mid-table scramble.

With 10 points from 12 games, the Royal Challengers are currently in seventh spot and they have to win both their remaining games — against a Rishabh Pant-less DC on Sunday and then versus defending champions Chennai Super Kings on May 18 (also at home) — to stand a chance of making the cut for the last-four. 

If they win both the games and teams around them drop points, RCB, who have stunningly lifted themselves off the bottom of the table following a run of four consecutive victories, could sneak into the play-offs. So, the game against an unpredictable DC, also chasing a knockout spot with 12 points from as many matches, is a must-win tie for RCB. Loss means end of the road.

While pressure is going to be massive on RCB, in fact even for DC considering a loss for them will severely dent their play-off chances, the hosts will be confident of maintaining their momentum in front of a packed house that is certain to be bathed in red and blue.

Things that were not working for them at the beginning of the season have started to click now and that has given them a new-found confidence. Firstly, the return to form of lead pacer Mohammed Siraj has rubbed on nicely to the rest of his bowling colleagues, especially fellow pacer Yash Dayal.

Siraj was all over the place in the opening half of the tournament and leaked plenty of runs but the Hyderabadi, known for his big heart, has bounced back remarkably. He has got the ball to swing at the start, picked up wickets with some good movement and pace, and has been quite effective at the death too. 

The same applies to left-arm seamer Dayal, who has found his range in the nick of time. Spinners Karn Sharma and Swapnil Singh too have been effective in the middle overs, picking up wickets regularly that has kept the opposition batters in check. More importantly, they’ve struck a fine balance between attacking and defensive lines and lengths.

Pieces in the batting department have also fallen together nicely. Kohli has not only extended his impressive form but upped the strike-rate drastically over the last few matches. Skipper Faf du Plessis has regained his rhythm, all-rounder Cameron Green has found his range while key batter Rajat Patidar has rediscovered his mojo, the right-hander slamming three fifties in his last five innings.

Pant suspended 

DC received a major jolt on the eve of the game. Their leading run-scorer and skipper Pant was handed a one-match suspension for breaching the IPL Code of Conduct regarding slow over-rate. His team maintained a slow over-rate for a third time this season and Pant has to bear the bulk of the punishment. 

With Pant unavailable, in-form openers Jake Fraser-McGurk and Abhishek Porel will have to do the heavy lifting. The onus to provide to late fireworks will hinge on Tristan Stubbs.

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Published 11 May 2024, 17:03 IST

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