Delhi v Bangalore, IPL 2013, Delhi May 9, 2013

RCB look to get wobbling campaign back on track

Match facts

May 10, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big Picture

When Royal Challengers Bangalore left the comforts of home about a fortnight ago, they had won six games out of eight, were at the top end of the points table and were considered a shoo-in for the playoffs. In the four matches since, they have lost three times. As a result, they've dropped to the crowded middle of the table and have a growing list of doubters. Delhi is the second-to-last stop on their road trip, before they head to the newest venue on the IPL map, Ranchi, and then it's back home for two games to finish the league stage. They will want to score points in their final two matches on the road, not just to shore up their chances of a playoff spot but to boost their confidence ahead of those big games, none of which will be at the Chinnaswamy.

What should worry Royal Challengers, more than their failure to win away games this season, is their response to David Miller's assault in their previous match. Arguably Miller's 38-ball hundred was one of the finest innings in an IPL chase, but Royal Challengers seemed to lose focus soon after the onslaught began, even before their total of 190 seemed to be seriously under threat. Virat Kohli dropped one, their bowlers fed him length balls regularly, AB de Villiers misfielded …They'll have to deal with many more such pressure situations going into the final stretch of the tournament, and they'll be hoping to cope a lot better than they did on Monday.

Delhi Daredevils are out of the race for the playoffs. For them, it's all about finishing a disappointing campaign on a relative high, and spoiling a few parties on the way.

Form guide

Royal Challengers Bangalore: LWLLW (most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils: LLWWL

Players to watch

Virat Kohli is being groomed for the Indian captaincy. This tournament is his first stint in charge of a senior team, and if this was a yardstick to judge where his leadership skills stand at the moment, he has probably been found wanting in handling the mental side of things until now. He had that ugly spat with India team-mate Gautam Gambhir early in the tournament, he let the Wankhede crowd get to him, he dropped that key catch - was there a touch of complacency as the expert fielder lined up with Miller's skier? - in the Kings XI game and was then seen arguing with umpire about a questionable no-ball in the midst of onslaught. Like his team, Kohli, too, faces the bigger pressure tests as this tournament progresses. He'll need to keep a tight rein on his emotions if he's to come out on top in them.

Mahela Jayawardene has 259 runs at 21.58 in 12 games, with a strike rate of 105.71. As much as his team has not been able to get away in this tournament, neither has Jayawardene. Will he continue to play, or become the latest captain to drop himself? With Daredevils out of contention and Sri Lanka eager to bring some of their out-of-form players home early from the IPL, to allow them to prepare better for the Champions Trophy, Jayawardene cannot be blamed if his focus has shifted a bit already.

Stats and Trivia

  • Royal Challengers and Daredevils have faced off 10 times in the IPL, with Daredevils winning 5 times, Royal Challengers winning 4 times, and 1 tie (their previous encounter this year, in which Royal Challengers won the Super Over). However, Daredevils last beat Royal Challengers in IPL 2010
  • Chris Gayle and Virat Kohli have the second-highest partnership in T20 cricket - an unbeaten 204 - and it came against Daredevils, in Delhi, last year

Quotes

"Twenty20 cricket is about one big score, one big partnership. We have not done that consistently."
Daredevils' coach Eric Simons analyses his team's shortcomings this season

Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

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