IPL 2020 DC vs RCB preview: Last chance for out-of-form teams to seal playoff spot

The winner of this contest in Abu Dhabi will be guaranteed a top-two finish. The losing team needs to avoid a heavy defeat to stay alive.

Shikhar Dhawan has failed to fire in the last three games and will hope to be back among the runs on Monday. - BCCI/IPL

For early leaders Delhi Capitals (DC) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB), the business end of the round-robin stage was to be used to smoothen a few rough edges. Instead, the two go into Monday’s match in Abu Dhabi with their very survival in question.

The winner will rise to 16 points and be guaranteed a top-two finish, which ensures two chances to get to the final. The loser can still progress to the playoffs, but needs to avoid a heavy defeat so that the net run rate doesn’t fall below that of fourth-placed Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).

ALSO READ | IPL 2020 playoffs race explained: How DC and RCB both qualified for last four

A Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) loss to table-topper Mumbai Indians on Tuesday will send both Monday’s loser and KKR through, regardless of the run rate.

But it should have never come to a stage where DC and RCB had to worry about such qualification scenarios. DC had won seven of its first nine matches and RCB seven of 10. Sealing a top-four spot seemed only a matter of time. But since then, they have been winless in four and three matches respectively, leading to the current tightrope walk.

Rishabh's conundrum

While DC seems to be beset with new problems, RCB has seen a relapse of the old ones. The opening combination for DC is a big worry. After back-to-back hundreds, Shikhar Dhawan’s three subsequent scores read 0, 0, 6. Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane have both not clicked as Dhawan’s partner.

Rishabh Pant seems stuck between two conflicting choices – whether to hit out from ball one or settle first and then score. In each of the last three games he has got starts – 21, 36, 27 – but the strike-rate has crossed 100 in just one.

Speedsters Kagiso Rabada (23 wickets) and Anrich Nortje (16) have gone slightly off the boil while off-spinner R. Ashwin, though economical, hasn’t been in the kind of wicket-taking form he would like to be.

Dependence on Kohli, de Villiers

On its part, RCB still seems to be dependent on at least one of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers coming good. The only occasion when either didn’t score above 50 but RCB still won came against KKR when the target was just 85.

The lower-middle order of Gurkeerat Mann, Chris Morris and Washington Sundar doesn’t strike fear and has mostly lumbered along, especially in the death-overs. It remains to be seen if Moeen Ali gets a game.

ALSO READ | DC vs RCB: Head-to-head record

Of late, the pace battery of Morris, Navdeep Saini and Mohammed Siraj has seemed short of ideas. On sticky wickets against Chennai Super Kings and SRH, they largely bowled one dimensional stuff and fed the batsmen pace.

De Villiers, though, was confident of a turnaround. “If you lose three in a row, you can win three in a row as well,” he said after the loss to SRH on Saturday. “The Delhi game is big, we all know that. We’re going to have to come out with our best cricket. If we do, things will look up.”

SQUADS

Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams.

Royal Challengers Bangalore: Aaron Finch, Devdutt Padikkal, Parthiv Patel, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Gurkeerat Singh, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Washington Sundar, Shahbaz Ahmed, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Yuzvendra Chahal, Adam Zampa, Isuru Udana, Moeen Ali, Josh Philippe, Pawan Negi, Pavan Deshpande, Mohammad Siraj, Umesh Yadav.

Match Details

Match No. 55: Delhi Capitals vs Royal Challengers Bangalore

Venue: Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi

Date: November 2, Monday

Time: 7.30pm

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :