It is the final league fixture of VIVO IPL 2016 – but it is a virtual knockout. Only one of the two teams - Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore – can progress to the Playoffs. The equation is pretty straightforward: Winner progresses to the Playoffs, Loser packs their kitbags.
The Delhi Daredevils were comfortably placed in the table at the start of the month with five wins in seven matches. But a loss of momentum since – with the team winning only two of their next six matches – has meant they now play in this knockout clash. In their most recent clash, they toppled the then table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad, chasing down 159 off the last ball of the chase. Much has been made of the Daredevils’ practice of chopping and changing the team; but that strategy – of ‘man matching’ – has worked for the team, and one shouldn’t be surprised to see them ring in the changes again.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have played a series of knockout-like matches. After winning only four of their first nine matches, RCB have had to win their remaining matches to be in contention for the Playoffs. They are in red hot form now; in their last three matches, they have defeated Gujarat Lions by a record margin of 144 runs, gunned down 183 against KKR losing only wicket in the chase and most recently defeated Kings XI Punjab quite convincingly after posting 211 runs on the board. The conditions – pitch, outfield and weather - at Raipur present a new challenge to RCB’s batsmen; RCB are a team who use the ‘find the boundary’ route to amass runs. But in Raipur, where the boundaries are deep, the batsmen will have to acclimatise themselves to rotate the strike better.
22 May 2016, 2000 Hrs IST
Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh International Cricket Stadium, Naya Raipur
Temperature: Max 37°c, Min 35°c
Humidity: Max 23%
Delhi Daredevils will look towards Quinton de Kock to set the momentum with the bat, and hope the other youngsters in the line-up – like Karun Nair, who played a match-winning innings against SRH on Friday night, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson, can play supporting roles. Among the bowlers, Zaheer Khan and Amit Mishra will be the key personnel in the team’s bowling plans. Also look out for Chris Morris, their most influential player; the South African missed the previous match because of a niggle, but he is expected to shore up the line-up in this crunch game.
RCB’s top order is perhaps the best in business. Virat Kohli has been sensational this season and has destroyed several records this season. The RCB skipper has already scored 865 runs in 13 innings and has four centuries and five half-centuries to his credit. Such has been Kohli’s form that AB de Villiers, who has amassed 597 runs at a strike-rate of nearly 173, has been overshadowed. Chris Gayle, who has returned to form with useful scores in the last couple of innings, and Shane Watson, round up a formidable top four.
Head to Head
The Delhi Daredevils have some catching up to do with Royal Challengers Bangalore; the former have won 6 matches and ended up losing in 9 other contests. When these two teams met in Bengaluru earlier this season, the Delhi Daredevils chased down 191 in the last over, winning by seven wickets.
Royal Challengers Bangalore’s overall scoring rate in VIVO IPL 2016 is an incredible 9.80; the next best scoring rate among all teams is Kolkata Knight Riders’ 8.41.
Royal Challengers Bangalore have scored 61.7% of their runs through boundaries this season – the highest among all teams.
The average boundary percentage across all venues – other than Raipur – in VIVO IPL 2016 is 54.63%. In the one match played at Raipur though, only 47.65% of the runs were scored by means of boundaries.
Only three players – Karun Nair, Sanju Samson and Amit Mishra have featured in all 13 Delhi Daredevils’ matches. For RCB, the only three players who have featured in every match in the season so far are captain Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Shane Watson.
The winner of this contest will progress to the VIVO IPL 2016 Playoffs, while the losing team will pack their bags and head home.
VIVO IPL 2016 Playoff Schedule:
Qualifier 1: 1st Placed team v 2nd Placed team – May 24 at Bengaluru
Eliminator: 3rd Placed team v 4th Placed team – May 25 at Delhi
Qualifier 2: Winner of Eliminator v Loser of Q1 – May 27 at Delhi
Grand Final: Winner of Q1 v Winner of Q2 – May 29 at Bengaluru