Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
May 10th , 2013
Form Guide ( Last 5 matches )
Delhi – LWWLL
RCB – WLLWL
A noted Cricket commentator when asked a question as to why the English Fast Bowler Steve Harmison, who was then at the peak of his prowess, did not perform half as well outside England remarked ," Probably, The only problem that ails him is the fact that he feels homesick the moment he fastens his seatbelt at Heathrow." To be fair to Harmison, he did admit to the fact that homesickness issues did plague him throughout his career. Such has been the nature of the campaign of RCB this season that you would be lulled into believing that their entire team suffers from the same malady that tormented Harmison through out his career. A team that started this season in Red ( pun intended ) hot form has looked a pale shadow of itself whilst on the road and are in danger of squandering away a qualification berth in the last four unless they pick themselves up at the business end of the tournament.
Delhi on the other hand who were table toppers last year have had a nightmarish season this year and have looked like a team that appears jaded and has failed to maximize their talent. The woeful form of their top order and their inability to pip their opponents to the finish in close games have been the major reasons of their lackluster show this season. The team has also been afflicted with the fact that their captain Mahela Jayawardene who has been in woeful form this season has not taken any hard decision of dropping non performing senior players or even "resting" himself ala Ricky Ponting. The performances of their foreign talent with the sole exception of Warner has been quite dismal coupled with the fact that their quartet of local Indian bowlers have failed to chip in consistently with any match turning performances of note.
Royal Challengers Bangalore
David Miller’s swashbuckling innings in the last match ensured that RCB were scourged by the taste of the same medicine that a certain Chris Gayle inflicts on their opponents. Miller’s innings certainly came as a bolt from the blue for RCB who seemed to be cruising to win and it was a knock that made cricket fans world over Doff their hats to the Miller of Mohalee. Virat Kolhi’s forlorn look during the Miller onslaught was akin to an image of Thakur playing a timed chess game with Ramu Kaka nowhere in sight. ( For all of you have not seen the Hindi blockbuster Sholay, Thakur was the village headman whose hands were chopped off and Ramukaka his trusted lieutenant ). RCB shall have to try and erase this knock from their memory and try and come up with a more organized game-plan to ensure that they are capable of weathering a Warner or Sehwag onslaught which is long overdue. They would do well to take inspiration from CSK’s turnaround with a sparkling performance last night against SRH after a mauling that they were handed out by the Mumbai Indians which has given even the RCB some breathing space. Virat Kohli would be also glad with the result knowing fully well that an SRH win would have brought RCB down to Number 5 in the points table. Kohli’s return to his hometown albeit as the visiting captain and would probably tinker with the lineup that they played with in Mohali by getting an extra spinner on the low and slow Kotla track. RCB now with the addition of Pujara have arguably the best top 4 in their batting lineup this season and will be looking to them to provide the cushion of runs that their bowling so desperately needs
X Factor: Virat Kohli. After some scintillating performances at the start of the season, Kohli shall be looking to arrest the slide in his own individual form as the Delhi lad returns to his homeground. VK shall be looking to do well on a track that he would know like the back of his hand knowing fully well that he and AB are the two impact players in the line up in case of a Chris Gayle failure. Kohli would also know that a win in this game would be crucial as their next 3 matches are against CSK, KKR and Punjab all of whom on their day are a difficult opposition to beat.
Delhi shall draw some inspiration from the fact that the last time they played at Kotla, Sehwag and Jayawardene made mincemeat of a strong Mumbai Indians bowling line up handing them a crushing defeat. They also shall be looking to continue their home win Momentum having won their last 3 home games out of which the last 2 were played at Raipur against Pune and KKR. Delhi shall also wish to take advantage of the fact that RCB have a poor away record and shall be aware that if they are able to make initial inroads in the RCB batting lineup, the likes of Shahbaz Nadeem could make life difficult for the inexperienced RCB lower middle order on this Kotla track. Delhi shall be hoping that their local Delhi lads Unmukt Chand and Virender Sehwag finally come to the party to give the homecrowd something to shout about.
X Factor: Virender Sehwag: Sehwag has had a very disappointing tournament so far with only one noteworthy innings against the Mumbai Indians in the last match DD played at the Kotla. Indian fans shall be hoping that he shall be smarting from the fact that he was not even considered in the probables when the selectors picked the squad for the Champions trophy and that should probably motivate him to silence his critics in the manner that he alone knows best.
Prediction:The last time these 2 teams clashed in Bengaluru, the match went into the super over and RCB won the match by the skin of their teeth. Yet, the fact that the RCB’s away wins have been as infrequent as the sighting of Lakshman Shivramakrishnan commentating in a non CSK game, they shall have their task cut out against DD who are a dangerous team with nothing to play for. Yet, RCB might still make the cut simply because they are a strong team and unlike Delhi have their impact players in form who could snatch the win for them.