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IPL 7: Royal Challengers must beat Delhi to keep play-offs hopes alive

Battered and bruised, Royal Challengers Bangalore face Delhi Daredevils in a must-win IPL match here today. A defeat could put the play-offs out of RCB’s reach while the Daredevils, with seven defeats, are all but out of the reckoning.


RCB will rely on in-form Yuvraj Singh (left) and skipper Virat Kohli for a good score. PTI Photo/BCCI

Two stunning back-to-back defeats at home, against Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals, in the past 72 hours have put huge question marks against the Virat Kohli-led RCB whose repeated collective failures despite a plethora of talent have been baffling.

Yuvraj’s return to form
Today night presents a good opportunity for the RCB, who have just six points from nine matches, to drag themselves out of the mire as they face a deflated Daredevils whose captain Kevin Pietersen faces a similar crisis and predicament as Kohli in terms of pulling his team together to perform.

The only solace for Kohli has been Yuvraj Singh’s return to form, or so it appeared on Sunday when the southpaw notched up a blistering 83 runs and then took four wickets.

However, Yuvraj would need to carry on the good work if RCB hope to make the play-offs as thus far, it has only been AB de Villiers who has been performing.

The two areas where RCB have faltered have been the form of opener Chris Gayle and Kohli, besides their bowling at the death that was cruelly exposed by both Punjab and Rajasthan.

Against Rajasthan, RCB shuffled the team a bit, a move that reflected frustration rather than a definite plan with Kohli replacing Parthiv Patel to open with Gayle and bringing in young Vijay Zol at No 3 — both the moves flopped.

Delhi’s poor run
Delhi’s two victories so far have been in the UAE last month, against Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians as they have lost all their four matches since the tournament returned to India this month.

Daredevils, like the RCB, have had issues with inconsistent performances by their batsmen and also the bowlers among whom only Mohammed Shami has looked the part.

Last match key moments (17-4-2014)

>> On a two-paced Sharjah track, DD struggled to get the run-rate at a brisk rate for first half of their innings. It was Duminy who provided the momentum in the latter half. He was involved in an unbeaten 110-run stand with Ross Taylor. DD scored 63 off the last five and 30 off the last two

>> Chasing 146, RCB were 65-2 when Yuvraj Singh joined Virat Kohli. DD let off Kohli twice when he was in the 20s

>> Virat and Yuvraj then took the game away from DD in no time. The pair added 84 in just 7.5 overs, helping Bangalore stroll to a eight-wicket win

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