The worst performing side in the nine previous IPL seasons, Delhi Daredevils will have the golden opportunity to kick off their 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a winning note when they face an injury-ravaged Royal Challengers Bangalore at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru on Saturday.
South African star AB de Villiers is still a doubtful starter for RCB. The team is also struggling without captain Virat Kohli, opener Lokesh Rahul, and the talented Sarfaraz Khan, who will most likely be unavailable for the season after hurting himself on the field during a practice match. If both Watson and Kohli are unavailable for Saturday’s match, Shane Watson will continue to lead RCB in Saturday’s game.
The absence of big names from the team has had an effect as RCB went down to defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad by 35 runs in the inaugural match.
However, Bangalore would be hoping that Jamaican power-hitter Chris Gayle will take on the onus of laying a solid foundation at the top, alongside the likes of stand-in skipper Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Travis Head and Sachin Baby.
Gayle and Mandeep Singh had put on a 52-run partnership for the opening wicket in the previous match, and they would be expected to repeat the performance against Delhi as well.
In the bowling department, RCB would depend on English quick Tymal Mills, an expensive buy at the IPL 2017 auction, and Yuzvendra Chahal. Both of them had picked just one wicket each in the last game.
With Aniket Choudhary and Sreenath Aravind averaging over 10, the captain might want to opt for Kiwi pacer Adam Milne and Samuel Badree.
Will Delhi Daredevils Make a Successful Start This IPL?
The Daredevils, on the other hand, have their own injury concerns, with Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews and South African stumper Quinton de Kock already out of the contest. Shreyas Iyer, the flamboyant batsman, has too been ruled out for at least a week due to chickenpox.
After finishing sixth in the last edition, DD have still decided to go with a young batting unit comprising the likes of Sam Billings, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson.
The Zaheer Khan-led side, however, have bolstered their pace attack with the addition of Protea quick Kasigo Rabada and Aussie Pat Cummins.
If they are to play two spinners out of three – Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem – they might leave out pacer Mohammed Shami, who too has injury worries.
Delhi would also bank on aggressive New Zealander Corey Anderson to win them a few games.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Shane Watson (Captain), Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Travis Head, Kedar Jadhav (WK), Yuzvendra Chahal, Stuart Binny, Tymal Mills, Aniket Choudhary, Sreenath Aravind, Abu Nechim, Tabraiz Shamsi, Praveen Dubey, Iqbal Abdulla, Akshay Karnewar, Chris Jordan, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Parvez Rasool, Harshal Patel, Kane Richardson, Sachin Baby, David Wiese, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers,
Delhi Daredevils: Sam Billings, Sanju Samson, Corey Anderson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant (WK), Chris Morris, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan (Captain), Kagiso Rabada, Aditya Tare, Ankit Bawne, Shashank Singh, Pat Cummins, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed, M Ashwin, Chama Milind, Navdeep Saini, Pratyush Singh, Carlos Brathwaite, Angelo Mathews, Jayant Yadav, Shreyas Iyer.
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