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Royal Challengers captain positive ahead of team’s opener against DD
By IPL Staff
Dubai 16 April 2014
At the centre of the pitch at the ICC cricket Academy in Dubai, Yuvraj Singh was seen receiving throw downs from one of the Royal Challengers Bangalore support staff. He cleared his right leg, made room and dispatched a few balls out of the park with ease. A little while later, he tried his hand at gentle nudges and the reverse-sweep. He looked relaxed and comfortable, and sent the next few balls soaring beyond the ropes, which was a treat to the eye.
“Yuvraj is very happy playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore.” captain Virat Kohli said. “He is very happy with the kind of environment which is there in the squad. He is loving it. I have spoken to him personally as well and he is excited to go out there and perform. I feel he is going to be the X-factor for RCB this season.”
Like Yuvraj Singh, there are a lot of new players drafted into the team and Kohli was happy that his side had bonded well over the last few days. “It is a new phase for RCB, there are only few players from last year who are in the team and there are a lot of new players. The guys have gelled pretty quickly and it is a relaxed environment. I am really excited to have all these new faces in the team and looking forward to this season. I have a strong feeling that we are going to do well in this season and I hope we go a few steps further and do well in the competition. “
The Royal Challengers meet a Kevin Pietersen-less Delhi Daredevils team at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Thursday. Kohli was of the view that his side would hold a slight advantage because of Pietersen sitting out due to a finger injury.
“Kevin Pietersen is a very dangerous player. It would be an advantage for us that he won’t be playing tomorrow’s game because we know how destructive he can be. I am sure he will be very eager to step on the field and perform for the Delhi Daredevils. But we cannot count out the other players in the Daredevils team. We will take every player in their side seriously.”
When asked if his side was batting heavy and lacked depth in the bowling department, Kohli said. “We have a great combination of bowlers. We have good spinners and fast bowlers. The squad is looking really nice. We used to rely on the top three mostly while batting in the previous seasons, but the good thing is we have Yuvraj Singh at the middle order and Albie Morkel, which is a huge bonus for us. The batting looks much stronger. I am personally happy with our batting because that way we can be relaxed and express ourselves rather than playing under pressure. We have a balanced side.”
The Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore open their Pepsi IPL 2014 campaign by clashing against each other in Match 2 of the season.
The Delhi Daredevils finished at the floor of the table last season and come into this tournament as a completely revamped outfit. The franchise owners will be hoping this overhaul results in a positive change of fortunes.
RCB have been a hugely entertaining side and play an energetic and exciting brand of cricket. However, they have failed to capitalize on a handful of critical moments and as a result have narrowly missed out on Playoff berths the last couple of seasons. Apart from comprising some aggressive batsmen who have caused a lot of damage around the world, the team has some very experienced hands in the bowling department and will be hoping to go the distance this time around.
Thursday, April 17, 2014, 8 pm IST
Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
One can expect plenty of fireworks in this match, for you will possibly not see a greater number of destructive batsmen in one match.
The Delhi Daredevils suffered a body blow on the eve of the match when skipper Kevin Pietersen was ruled out because of an injury to his finger. However, in Ross Taylor, JP Duminy, Murali Vijay and Dinesh Karthik they have players who have shown that they are capable of inflicting lots of damage at the international level. DD will also expect runs from the two Tiwary’s – Manoj and Saurabh – as well as from the youngsters – Quinton de Kock and Kedar Jadhav.
RCB have a daunting batting line-up – perhaps the most formidable looking one in the competition – Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Virat Kohli and the recently-acquired million-dollar man, Yuvraj Singh. With such a line-up, and the likes of Albie Morkel for support, the team should back itself to chase down any kind of target or post enough runs on the board to put the target beyond the reach of the opposition.
Numbers certainly indicate that Royal Challengers Bangalore hold an edge in their contests against the Delhi Daredevils. Not only do they have a 6-5 win-loss record against DD, but they have won each of their last five contests.
On both occasions that these teams met last season, RCB held their nerves to edge past their opponents. In the first meeting in Bengaluru, RCB prevailed in the Super Over after both teams had finished with the same number of runs at the end of regulation time. In the subsequent outing in Delhi, RCB edged home by four runs despite posting 183 runs on the board.
RCB have five batsmen in their line-up who have struck more than 100 sixes in T20 cricket. For the record, there are only 46 players who have hit 100 or more sixes in T20 cricket around the world.
RCB’s Chris Gayle holds the record for scoring the most runs in T20 cricket (5992), scoring the most centuries in the format (11) and hitting the most sixes in the 20-over format (523). His teammate Albie Morkel is the most capped player in the T20 format with 260 total appearances.
This match will feature the two most expensive players purchased at the 2014 IPL Player Auction. The Royal Challengers Bangalore signed Yuvraj Singh for INR 14 Crores, while the Delhi Daredevils bought Dinesh Karthik for INR 12.5 Crores.
Dinesh Karthik has an impressive record as captain in T20 cricket; of the 15 matches he has captained, his team has gone on to win 12.
Both teams will be seen in action next on April 19. Virat Kohli and co. will clash with the defending champions, Mumbai Indians, in the 4pm game, while the Delhi Daredevils will take on the Kolkata Knight Riders later in the evening.