The two teams who have been the most affected by the injury plague this season, will face off at the M.Chinnaswamy stadium for the second match of the day. The RCB crowd, so used to cheering Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers for the past few seasons, will see the team take the field without their two biggest superstars.
The crowd support, however, could turn out to be the decisive factor for the Bangalore franchise against the Delhi Daredevils, who start their campaign with an away game. The Delhi team’s composition looks pretty skewed, with the bowling attack filled with pacers. Injury to Quinton de Kock, as well as the unavailability of Jean Paul Duminy and Shreyas Iyer, is bound to hurt them bad. Rishabh Pant, who recently lost his father, might not play the game.
For Bangalore, the injury list has extended from KL Rahul and Virat Kohli to Sarfaraz Khan and AB de Villiers, although the South African is expected to be fit by the end of this week. Shane Watson’s captaincy and bowling peeled open in the first match, and he would have to come up with a much better showing this time around.
For the Delhi youngsters, this is the opportunity to step up and be counted. Karun Nair, who had a poor Test series against Australia after a stupendous debut, will look to gain his confidence back with a big knock. He will balance the middle-order load with Sanju Samson, another youngster who has shown promise over the last two seasons, but needs to deliver a lasting punch.
Match date: 08-04-2017
Match time: 2000 (IST)
Venue: M. Chinnaswamy stadium, Bengaluru
If Royal Challengers Bangalore bat first
Predicted score: 170+
Top heavy RCB have the likes of Chris Gayle and Shane Watson to do the early damage, but the batting orders tapers off after that. Kedar Jadhav, having impressed in the England ODI series, is a vital cog in the middle order, and can help finish the innings on a high.
Given the nature of the Chinnaswamy track, where par scores sometimes reach 180, anything less than 170, even with the dented batting attack that the RCB have, won’t be enough.
The creaking bones of Zaheer Khan will join forces with a young Kagiso Rabada to put the initial pressure with the new ball. Following them will be Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem, both of whom are clever bowlers in the shortest format and can stifle the flow of runs.
If Delhi Daredevils bat first
Predicted score: 160+
The Delhi line-up looks lean: with no De Kock, Duminy, Iyer and a doubtful Pant, the likes of Karun Nair and Sanju Samson will have to take up the responsibility. Sam Billings is set to be one of the openers, with either Samson or Nair filling for Pant at the top, if he doesn’t play. There will be a toss up between Carlos Brathwaite and Corey Anderson for the all-rounder, with Anderson holding a slightly bigger edge owing to his hard-hitting capabilities.
There is added pressure on Chris Morris to provide the final flourish to the innings, especially because there is no one below him who can tonk the ball.
Predicted winners: Royal Challengers Bangalore