Boosted by their comprehensive victory over table—toppers Delhi Daredevils in their last match, Royal Challengers Bangalore would look to seal their play—offs berth when they take on Deccan Chargers in their must—win Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.
Opener Chris Gayle has been in explosive form with his unbeaten 128 laced with 13 sixes against the Daredevils, but it won’t be an easy task for RCB as the Chargers beat Rajasthan Royals in their last match to send the Jaipur—based side out of IPL.
With 17 points from 15 matches, RCB have no other option but to win at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium at Uppal to seal a play—off berth.
The Chargers, on the other hand, are already out of the tournament with just seven points from 15 matches so far and they have nothing to lose except spoil RCB’s chances of a play—off berth. Another win would also improve upon their dismal record at their home venue since they played their first match in the inaugural season in 2008.
RCB would again expect the destructive Gayle, the top—run getter of the current IPL season, to fire on all cylinders.
Gayle, who has so far accumulated 706 runs this season, has been consistent, having scored seven half—centuries besides hitting the maximum sixes - 57.
Stand—in skipper Virat Kohli (with 322 runs) would also like to carry on his good form after scoring an unbeaten 73 against the Daredevils to ensure that RCB emerge victorious.
RCB also have the likes of attacking batsmen in South African AB de Villiers (315 runs) and Sri Lankan opener Tillakaratne Dilshan (281), who can single—handedly take on the opposition.
It would be interesting to watch de Villiers batting here after his match—winning knock of 17—ball 47 against the same opponents in their earlier clash in Bangalore.
In the bowling department also, RCB players have been in good touch with veteran off—spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (14 wickets), medium pacer Vinay Kumar (16), Zaheer Khan (15) and Harshal Patel (nine) raring to go for a play—off berth.
It, however, needs to be seen whether New Zealander Daniel Vettori, who can add more ammunition to RCB spin—bowling attack, will make himself available or not against the Chargers.
Bottom—placed Chargers would look to settle scores against RCB for their loss in their first—leg clash.
Chargers’ batting relies heavily on opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan (564 runs) and attacking Australian Cameron White (478 runs). They would need contributions from the likes of captain Kumar Sangakkara, wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel, J P Duminy and Daniel Harris if they want to beat RCB tomorrow.
Akshath Reddy, who scored 42 against Rajasthan Royals last night, would like to repeat his performance.
The Chargers bowlers, particularly fast bowler Dale Steyn (15 wickets) and leg—spinner Amit Mishra (11 wickets), would be put to test against the likes of Gayle, de Villiers and Kohli.