The stage is set for a Saturday night blockbuster as the hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore take on the Delhi Daredevils at the Chinnaswamy stadium. It is the first match of the season at Bengaluru and the fans are expected to throng the stadium for this massive encounter.
The crowd in the Garden City is known to be passionate about the game and the atmosphere inside the stadium is electrifying as the fans turn the stands into a sea of red in support of the home team.
The runners-up in the last edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the boys from Bengaluru will look to make amends and bounce back from their loss in the opening match of the tournament. Delhi, on the other hand, will be playing their first match of the season and will be looking to start the tenth edition of the tournament on a positive note.
Despite having a star-studded line-up throughout the nine editions of the tournament, both teams have failed to win the coveted trophy and will be looking to turn things around in IPL 2017.
Here’s a look at the five factors of winning for both the teams:
#1 With the bat
The batting department of the Royal Challengers Bangalore is heavily dependent on Chris Gayle and they would want him to provide the firepower at the top of the order. He is a proven match-winner and on his day, he can demolish any opposition all by himself with his sheer power and ability to clear the boundary ropes.
Shane Watson, the stand-in skipper looked rusty in the first match and the management and fans of RCB would hope he comes into his zone as he is one of the most destructive batters in world cricket.
Kedar Jadhav was outstanding for the Indian team in the series against England and his contributions in the middle order are extremely vital for the team.
The young turks in the batting line up of Delhi Daredevils play a fearless brand of cricket. Rishabh Pant, who made his international T-20I debut against England, has been in sublime form this season.
Karun Nair, who scored a record-breaking triple century, will be looking to continue his fine form with the bat in the upcoming edition. The batting unit will be boosted by the arrival of Carlos Brathwaite and new recruit Corey Anderson who will give the Delhi side a destructive option lower down the order. If they fire, Delhi will be well on course to winning the match.
#2 With the ball
The bowling unit of RCB is known to be a weak link and hence it came as no surprise that they strengthened their bowling department by roping in Tymal Mills, the England left-arm pacer for the 2017 edition.
He is known for his skills in the shortest format of the game and is a specialist T20 bowler for England. The bowling department would rely on him for early breakthroughs and effective death bowling.
He will be well supported by Yuzvendra Chahal who has been one of most consistent performers in the RCB bowling department for a couple of years. The duo will be expected to share the bulk of the bowling responsibilities along with skipper Shane Watson who has been known to chip in with handy wickets in the middle overs.
It is no surprise that the strength of the Delhi Daredevils is their bowling department. Along with the experienced Zaheer Khan and Mohammed Shami, the pace battery will include international stars like Kagiso Rabada and Pat Cummins.
The Delhi outfit also have the services of Chris Morris who performed exceedingly well for them last season. The wrist spinners are known to be game changers and in Amit Mishra, Delhi have an experienced leg-spinner who can turn the game on its head with his control over line and length.
The bowling line up of the Delhi team looks formidable and they will back themselves to defend any total.
RCB would be looking to exploit the inexperience in the batting line up of the Delhi Daredevils. They will be banking on Mills to provide them wickets early on in the innings and control the match in the middle overs with Chahal. As far as batting is concerned, they will be looking at Gayle and Watson to power the team through with their explosive batting.
For the Delhi Daredevils, their pace battery is lethal even on flat decks. They have the pace and the bounce to trouble any batsman including Gayle. He is not fully in control against the short rising balls and hence a barrage of short deliveries can be a great option early on.
Watson, meanwhile, has been struggling for form and the Daredevils can use this opportunity to run through the batting order. The firepower in the batting department of the Daredevils can then be unleashed against the weak bowling unit of RCB.
#4 Pitch and conditions
The wicket at the Chinnaswamy stadium is known to be a batting paradise and it suits the aggressive brand of cricket RCB like to play. The short boundaries will give them the advantage in chasing down any total or even putting up a huge first innings score.
The ball will skid on to the bat under lights which will be an added advantage for RCB batters as most of them like the ball coming onto the bat. The good news for RCB is that the last time Chahal bowled at this venue, he picked up six for 25 in his four overs against England. The new ball will swing in the initial overs and will get the likes of Tymal Mills into play.
Nobody better than Rahul Dravid knows the conditions and the 22 yards of the Chinnaswamy. Having played all his junior cricket at this venue, the former India player is in charge of the Delhi Daredevils for the 2017 season. The wicket offers true bounce and carry throughout the game and hence it will be a great opportunity for the fast bowlers of the Delhi outfit to bend their backs and utilise whatever is on offer.
#5 Performance of youngsters
Although injuries to Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have weakened the batting line up of RCB, it provides young players like Mandeep Singh and Sachin Baby an opportunity to prove their mettle and cement their place in the side.
The Delhi outfit too have been plagued by injuries and the unavailability of players like JP Duminy and Quinton De Kock will be a huge blow to their chances. It is the ideal stage for somebody like Rishabh Pant, who is on the fringe of national selection to perform well and possibly secure a place in the team for the Champions Trophy.
The left-handed batsman is known for his explosive batting in the shorter formats of the game and has been in terrific form throughout the domestic season. The possibility of a place in the national side can get the best out of him and work wonders for the Delhi team.