In its mission to enter the final for the first time and lift the title that has eluded it over the last nine years, Delhi Daredevils (DD) is hoping to tame hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a winning start in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL-10 T20) Tournament today.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will have a tough task today when they lock horns with veteran Zaheer Khan led Delhi Daredevils in an IPL match at Bengaluru. RCB has lost their first match against defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.
“Realistically, in T20 anything can happen on any given day. What we are looking for is to put in place our preparation and execute our plans to start the season on a winning note,” DD Head Coach Paddy Upton told reporters here ahead of the tie.
“What is important for us is to set ourselves for the best possible chance to win the first game and have the result go our way in every game we play over the next six weeks. We are not really focused on winning or losing but getting into the rhythm for the season and make to the play-offs,” asserted Upton.
Daredevils vs RCB: IPL 2017
Even as RCB bets on home advantage to bounce back after losing its first tie to Sun Risers Hyderabad by 35 runs on Wednesday in Hyderabad, DD is pinning on its seasoned players to take on the hosts in the absence of South Africans J.P. Duminy and Quinton de Kock, Sri Lankan Angelo Mathews and Shreyas Iyer.
The Bangalore based side has already lost their star opener KL Rahul as he will undergo a surgery in London in few days time. On the other hand RCB’s teenage batsman Sarfaraz Khan will most likely miss the entire tournament after sustaining a leg injury during a practice match in Bengaluru.
The absence of big names from the team has had an effect as RCB went down to defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad by 35 runs in the inaugural match.
On a belter of a pitch at Hyderabad, veteran Yuvraj Singh smashed 62 off 27 balls to steer the Sunrisers to 207 for four and in reply RCB, were bundled out for 172 in 19.4 overs. This was the first time in 23 matches that Bangalore were all out.
However, Bangalore would be hoping that their destructive batsmen Chris Gayle and Watson — both of whom are capable of destroying any opposition on their day — come good against a depleted Delhi.
Gayle and Mandeep Singh had put on a 52-run partnership for the opening wicket in the previous match and they would be expected to repeat the performance against Delhi as well.
Kedar Jadhav, a rising Indian star, would also be keen to rise to the occasion, while another talented youngster Sachin Baby would be hoping to make an impression too before big names come back in the fold.
In the bowling department, they would depend on Tymal Mills, an expensive buy at the IPL 2017 auction, and Yuzvendra Chahal. Both of them had picked just one wicket each in the last game.
With Aniket Choudhary and Sreenath Aravind averaging over 10, Watson might opt for Kiwi pacer Adam Milne and Samuel Badree.
Meanwhile, the Daredevils, who have been the worst performing side in the nine previous IPL seasons, would be desperately looking to get a few wins early on to bolster their fragile confidence.
But the picture does not look so rosy with injuries to some of their star players.
They have lost South Africans Quinton De Kock and Jean-Paul Duminy for the entire tournament, affecting their balance. While Duminy pulled out citing personal reasons, de Kock had suffered a tendon damage on his right index finger during the Test series against New Zealand.
Shreyas Iyer, the flamboyant batsman, has been ruled out for at least a week due to chickenpox.
Sri Lankan Angelo Matthews also has injury worries along with Mohammad Shami.
With skipper Zaheer Khan fit and raring to bowl, the Daredevils are counting on its ace spinner Amit Mishra and pacer Mohammed Shami to lead the bowling attack.
However, Daredevils have the likes of young Rishabh Pant, who has a lot to offer with the bat, West Indies T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite and Aussie pacer Pat Cummins to lend the team experience and firepower.
Delhi would also rely on aggressive New Zealander Corey Anderson to win them a few games.
IPL Teams of Delhi Daredevils and RCB
RCB: Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Shane Watson (capt), Kedar Jadhav (wk), Travis Head, Sachin Baby, Stuart Binny, Tymal Mills, Sreenath Aravind, Aniket Choudhary, Yuzvendra Chahal, Pawan Negi, Harshal Patel, Adam Milne, Iqbal Abdulla, Samuel Badree, Avesh Khan, Tabraiz Shamsi, Praveen Dubey, Billy Stanlake, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers.
Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (capt), Mohammad Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, CV Milind, Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Aditya Tare, Shashank Singh, Ankit Bawane, Navdeep Saini, Corey Anderson, Angelo Mathews, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Sam Billings.
Will Daredevils be able to win their first IPL match today? What is your opinion?
Inputs from IANS