Royal Challengers Bangalore aim for winning start against the Delhi Daredevils
Here's the preview for RCB's first match of the season!
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Time: 8 PM IST
In the 9 T20s played at this venue, the side that batted first won 6 times. The dew factor may come into play with bowlers finding it hard to get a good grip on the ball. Also considering the batting strengths of the two teams, especially RCB, you can sense a run fest in this game.
Head to Head:
RCB have won the last 5 games against this Delhi side so they will have the mental edge. But Delhi are a completely revamped side and they will be looking to make a fresh start.
Bangalore were looking to bolster their batting lineup and went for all-rounder Yuvraj Singh. On his day he can tear apart any bowling attack and also contributes with the ball and in the field. Alongside Yuvraj, came in all-rounder Albie Morkel, a man with a proven track record with the ball and the bat. He has the ability to clear the boundary with ease in the slog overs and picks up vital wickets too.
Delhi decided to let go of all their players to build a new team this season. Only time will tell whether the ploy works or not. Kevin Pietersen was appointed to lead the side and he will have the likes of JP Duminy, Ross Taylor and Quinton de Kock alongside him.
Preview of the Teams:
You can expect RCB to go for Parthiv Patel to open the batting with Chris Gayle, and Virat Kohli to come in behind him. Albie Morkel is the all-rounder and will be most likely to be included in the first team as well. Ravi Rampaul, Mitchell Starc and Muttiah Muralitharan will have to fight it out for the last overseas player slot for the first fixture. Expect the inclusion of a relatively young Vijay Zol as well. The youngster scores runs at an impressive strike rate of 130 and averages 31.37 in the 8 T20s he's played.
Delhi will have South African Quinton de Kock opening with Murali Vijay. With Kevin Pietersen sitting out due to an injury, Dinesh Karthik will captain the side and marshall the middle order with Ross Taylor and JP Duminy. Wayne Parnell and Mohammed Shami will be the strike bowlers for Delhi with Rahul Sharma and Shahbaz Nadeem looking to support them with spin. If they are looking for a stringer batting lineup, they could even go in for Jimmy Neesham instead of Wayne Parnell and rely solely on an all Indian bowling attack.
In RCB's massive batting line-up the one man who cannot be overlooked is Chris Gayle. The West Indies international has scored a century in each of the previous three IPLs he has worn the Bangalore colours. He has changed his approach to being slow at the start to get his eye in and then cutting loose at a moments notice.
Delhi will depend on Dinesh Karthik to produce a good batting performance. In the absence of injured Kevin Pietersen, he will also have the added responsibility of marshalling the troops on the field. He will need to contribute with the bat and in the field over and above with his ideas and his ability to deal with the pressures of being a captain.