Preview: Having finally arrested a long losing streak Royal Challengers Bangalore will now head to the Feroz Shah Kotla in a bid to further their slim chances of making the playoffs when they face Delhi Capitals on Sunday (April 28). Bangalore though will have to play out of their skins in order to topple third-placed Delhi who seemed to have found a second wind to their game this season. More importantly, after two consecutive losses on home turf, Delhi finally broke the Kotla voodoo to register a comfortable five-wicket win against Kings XI Punjab before travelling to Jaipur and getting the better of Rajasthan Royals as well. They now have a chance to move to the top of the points table with a win against Bangalore and more or less secure a place in the playoffs.
Delhi boast a solid batting line up with a perfect blend of experience and youth. With Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw at the top and the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Colin Ingram to follow, the hosts would start as a confident batting unit. Most of their top and middle order has been in fine form this season. Pant slammed 78* in Delhi's win over Punjab last game and will be keen on continuing his excellent run. The bowling largely revolves around Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris but they also gave a well-rounded attack with spinners Sandeep Lamichhane, Amit Mishra and Axar Patel doing their job pretty well. Rabada has taken 23 wickets so far this IPL in just 11 games and is comfortably the leading wicket-taker in the tournament.
Delhi haven't always enjoyed the Kotla surface. The two-paced nature here has rendered shot-making tough and the surface will once again come under the scanner in the 4 pm match where the sun will further dry the surface. They might then pack their side with three spinners and hope to stop the big-hitting Bangalore top order. Bangalore will also not be short on confidence. After tasting defeats in the first few games, they seemed to have finally regrouped which is showing in the results. They have won four out of their last five matches and still have an outside chance of making it to the playoffs despite being bottom-placed.
AB de Villiers has been in terrific form of late as was evidenced by his scintillating 44-ball 82* against Punjab. Bangalore smashed 64 runs in their last three overs there and the likes of Parthiv Patel, de Villiers, Kohli and Marcus Stoinis will look to capitalise on Delhi's inconsistent record at home. Their bowling, however, remains a worry. Bangalore were dealt with a huge blow when Dale Steyn, who was brought in to replace the injured Nathan Coulter Nile, was ruled out of the IPL due to shoulder inflammation after just two games. But the side will draw inspiration from Navdeep Saini's effort against Punjab where he picked up the crucial wickets of Nicholas Pooran and David Miller in the penultimate over of the chase giving away only three runs to hand his side a win. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar too will have a huge role to play on the Kotla surface.