In what could very well be a virtual, ‘loser goes home’ quarter-final, Delhi Capitals will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the two sides’ final group game at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium on Monday. A win for either side will not only ensure qualification but will also guarantee a top-two finish.
Delhi Capitals - L L L L W
It wouldn’t be an overstatement to claim that Delhi Capitals are, going by current form, the worst side in the entire competition. That they’ve lost four games in a row is scathing in itself, but the manner of defeats - absolute poundings - have left a bitter taste on the viewers. Having looked primed to top the table at one point, the Capitals are now one loss away from not even making it to the playoffs. There have been precisely zero silver linings from the last four encounters, so it will take a drastic turnaround for DC to get the better of RCB on Monday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - L L L W W
2020, at one point, almost threatened to be Royal Challenger Bangalore’s year but normalcy has been restored of late, with the Reds emulating their more recent 2017/18/19 selves. Although RCB’s losses have not been as crushing and demoralizing like Delhi’s, the past few games have, nevertheless, exposed several chinks in the side’s armour. The team largely seems to rely on the brilliance of AB de Villiers, outside of which there seems to be no match-winning influence. Perhaps they might require magic from Mr.360 if they are to qualify for the playoffs by beating DC on Monday.
Delhi Capitals - Shikhar Dhawan
Touting a batsman with scores of 0, 0 and 6 next to his name in the last three matches to be the best batsman might sound preposterous, but such has been Delhi’s season, at least in the second half. With 471 runs to his name, the southpaw is head and shoulders above the rest of the batsmen in the Delhi side and it was his willow that won DC their last game - the Sharjah encounter versus CSK some 18 days ago. In each of the last three games, the Delhi batsmen have folded when Dhawan’s perished early, so the onus will be on the left-hander to drag the side to victory on Monday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - AB de Villiers
Numbers will tell that AB de Villiers has scored fewer runs this season than both Kohli and Padikkal but really, the veteran has been the sole match-winner with the bat for the Challengers. On more than one occasion, AB dug Bangalore out of a hole through his sensational 360-degree hitting - be it batting first or chasing - and it was his dismissal which turned the game in Sunrisers’ favour on Saturday in Sharjah. Batting in Abu Dhabi will be a tricky proposition, but with not many years left in him, AB will be keen to drag his side into the playoffs come Monday.
Delhi Capitals - Anrich Nortje
Delhi’s state has been sorrowful for the past couple of weeks, but Anrich Nortje has, nevertheless, continued to shine like a bright diamond for Shreyas Iyer’s side. The tearaway, this season, has given his blood, sweat and tears for the side and even in the drubbings that were the MI and SRH encounters, Nortje was the only Delhi bowler who emerged out unscathed. With both Padikkal and Phillippe having their own troubles against express pace, DC will be banking on ‘Nokia’ to rip a few poles up-front.
Royal Challengers Bangalore - Yuzvendra Chahal
Not Kohli, not Morris - Yuzvendra Chahal is and has been RCB’s second-most important player of the season behind AB de Villiers. The highest wicket-taking spinner of the season with 20 wickets in 13 outings, Chahal has given Kohli a wicket every time he’s needed one and the same was the case in RCB’s previous clash versus SRH, where he got the valued scalps of both Pandey and Saha. Be it in the game versus KXIP or the game versus KKR, Delhi’s struggles versus spin this season has been well-established, so taking everything into account, Chahal might very well be the guy who has the key in his hands to unlock the playoff spot for RCB.
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
When to Watch: Nov 2, 7.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)