The fifth game of IPL 2017 sees the Royal Challengers Bangalore lock horns with Delhi Daredevils in the M Chinnaswamy Stadium. Coming back from an embarrassing loss, the two-time finalists will look to make amends against a fellow depleted side.
With Rahul Dravid at the helm, Delhi Daredevils will look to get off to a positive start in this year’s campaign. To achieve their required results, certain player battles will be crucial in determining the outcome of the game. Let us take a look at four such player battles:
#1 Kagiso Rabada vs Chris Gayle
Playing his first season in the IPL, South African pacer Kagiso Rabada will be determined to make an impression and prove his worth from the very first game. The youngster has enjoyed plenty of success since his debut, and the very best is expected from him in this tournament as well. However, bowling to Christopher Henry Gayle is going to be a mighty challenge.
The Jamaican had a terrible four months with the bat as he scored a paltry 160 runs in nine matches in the PSL in March, and 109 runs in five games in the BPL. Although his recent stats aren’t very impressive, his abilities with the bat are known to the entire cricketing fraternity.
Without the likes of KL Rahul, Virat Kohli, and AB de Villiers, the Jamaican will be a vital cog in the Bangalore side’s batting line-up.
Rabada, on the other hand, will look to continue his great form. He picked up eight wickets from four innings vs New Zealand in three Test matches. While Gayle will be looking to give RCB an explosive start to the innings, Rabada would try and prevent that with a fiery opening spell with the new ball.
#2 Yuzvendra Chahal vs Karun Nair
The Delhi Daredevils have lost a couple of key batsmen due to injury, making Karnataka lad Karun Nair their key batsman for this campaign. Likely to come at number three, it would be Karun’s job to hold the fort at one end and look to deliver a couple of decisive blows in the final stages of the innings.
However, he will have his work cut out as he will come up against the opposition’s best bowler – Yuzvendra Chahal.
Chahal is a proven performer in the IPL and has delivered the goods on numerous occasions for Royal Challengers Bangalore. A crafty bowler, the Haryana lad’s most potent weapon is the googly.
Karun is a very good player of spin. But his biggest challenge lies in rotating the strike while the likes of Corey Anderson, Chris Morris, and Sam Billings have struggled against quality slow bowlers in the past.
With agile players by his side, Karun will look to convert the ones into twos and try to make most of Chahal’s bowling. The latter, meanwhile, will try his best to pick up the all important wicket of Nair through his miserly bowling.
The Daredevils have one of the most exciting squads in the tournament. With both sides losing key players, this game is vital in determining the future of the two sides.
#3 Tymal Mills vs Rishabh Pant
Tymal Mills, who was scooped up for a hefty price of 12 crores, made a decent debut against the Sunrisers a couple of days ago. He conceded 31 in his four overs and picked up the crucial wicket of Yuvraj Singh.
Delhi opener Rishabh Pant, meanwhile, would like to minimise the damage of the opening spell bowled by Mills. The young southpaw has had a fairly good time of it since the beginning of last season’s campaign and even earned a place in the Indian T20 squad.
Pant had a decent IPL last year. He scored 198 runs in 10 games, with 69 against the Gujarat Lions being his highest. Pant is known for his attacking batting, which can help the Daredevils get off to a flying start.
On the other hand, Mills can make an instant impact in the early overs and will be looking to reduce the impact of the opposition batsmen in the power play.
Mills bowling to Pant will be an interesting contest since the latter is a batsman who likes to attack the bowlers very early in the innings. However, the Englishman would love to get the better of the dashing Indian batsman.
#4 Chris Morris vs Shane Watson
The lanky South African all-rounder will be making his return to competitive cricket from a nasty back injury. Without the likes of Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, and Angelo Mathews, Morris is Delhi’s go-to foreign player and will look to fire on all cylinders with both bat and ball. His biggest task will be to restrict Shane Watson’s run flow while bowling and scoring plenty of runs against the latter with the bat.
After a miserable start to this year's campaign, RCB's stand-in skipper will be eager to deliver a match-winning performance to boost the team's morale. Watson will look to make a couple of early inroads into the inexperienced Delhi batting line-up. His efforts in the field were abysmal a couple of days back and the Brisbane hunk will need to make amends.
His prowess with the bat is perhaps Bangalore's biggest plus point coming into today's game. A solid innings will do his confidence a world of good.
The two players are proven match winners. They can change the complexion of the game within a couple of overs with bat and ball. However, the one with the better composure will reign supreme in today’s mouthwatering contest.