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RCB take on DD at the Shaheed Veer Narayan Singh Stadium at Raipur today. This is the second match of the season at this venue which is also the second for the Delhi franchise. It is India's second largest stadium with a pitch which has more often than not assisted the pacers and the spinners.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore have shown tremendous calibre and skill to win their last 3 matches and make a bold comeback in the Indian Premier League. Virat Kohli has been the destroyer in-chief and has anchored RCB's innings in all the 3 matches. Delhi Daredevils jumped to 14 points courtesy their last ball win against SRH and are looking in form too.
In the last league game of the Indian Premier League, these two sides will fight for a spot in the playoffs. With both sides now confident about their best playing XI, here's a preview of the squads ahead of the virtual knockout!
From the RCB dugout
World beater Chris Gayle has finally found form at just the right time. The southpaw will be keen to make his mark and steer RCB to another breezy start. His opening partner and RCB skipper Virat Kohli can't put a foot wrong and is the biggest threat for the opposition. He has amassed 865 runs so far in the tournament and will look to fire in front of a massive crowd today.
AB de Villiers with 597 runs has also been menacing so far. The trio have been at the heart of the team since 2011 and will be looked upon to see their side through to the playoffs for just the third time together. Shane Watson hasn't got an opportunity to bat but will be aiming to make his mark today. KL Rahul played a valiant 6-ball 16 run cameo in the previous match showing his intent to play at any position. Sachin Baby also does a similar kind of a job and has been a pillar of strength among these heavyweights.
RCB's bowlers did well to pull back KKR and KXIP in their two previous games and will hope to repeat it even without an extra large total to defend. Stuart Binny can be handy with the bat and is often used to bowl the first over by skipper Virat while Yuzvendra Chahal is expected to be the only spinner despite the dimensions of the Raipur ground. Varun Aaron and Sreenath Aravind are key members with the ball and often chip away with vital wickets. Chris Jordan will be a massive key to success if RCB are to continue their good run with the kookaburra. His skills at the death will be tested against the likes of Carlos Brathwaite and company. Not to forget, Shane Watson has picked up 16 wickets so far and is in the race for the purple cap.
From the DD dugout
Coach Rahul Dravid and skipper Zaheer Khan have shown tremendous chemistry for the Delhi franchise and have scripted their dream run thus far in the tournament. Quinton de Kock has been exceptional at the top along with the likes of Rishabh Pant, Karun Nair and Sanju Samson also delivering from time to time. Jean Paul Duminy has had a quiet tournament so far, batting sensibly around the youngsters.
Pawan Negi has been underused in the past few matches but is a value addition to the already competitive Delhi franchise. Carlos Brathwaite has been destructive with the bat but has performed more consistently with the ball. Chris Morris is expected to make a comeback after a niggle forced him out of Delhi's win against Sunrisers.
Amit Mishra has been bowling with a lot of responsibility thus allowing Zaheer Khan to play an extra seamer in place of an unpredictable Imran Tahir. Jayant Yadav has bowled efficient off breaks and can turn the ball a long way on a spinner friendly wicket. The veteran Zaheer leads from the front with the ball bowling cleverly at crucial stages. Mohammed Shami has gone for a few runs in the tournament but might get a game in place of Yadav.
Our Bold trump card
Only two players (Warner and AB) apart from Virat Kohli have been able to manage more than 500 runs this season. Virat's impact has been such that the swashbuckling right hander has scored 504 runs just in boundaries this season! Averaging an astonishing 86.50 with a strike rate of over 155, Virat Kohli has been a threat to every opposition.
In a front of a massive crowd today, Kohli will look to continue his golden touch and see RCB through to the playoffs. The proactive skipper's captaincy skills have been exceptional so far and will also come in handy today against an all round DD. His awe-inspiring form combined with his never give up attitude makes him our Bold player to watch out for!