Bangalore look to discover winning ways
Match factsApril 26, 2009
Start time 12.30pm (10.30GMT)
A campaign that began so brightly with a 75-run victory for Bangalore Royal Challengers has gone into freefall. Since that victory against Rajasthan Royals, Bangalore have suffered three consecutive defeats and languish in the bottom half of the league. In order to end the losing streak in Port Elizabeth, Bangalore will have upset the Delhi Daredevils, considered by many to be favourites for the title.
Bangalore's worries stem from a top order that has failed to make use of the Powerplay overs by losing too many wickets. Their best performance during the first six overs was 49 for 3 against Kings XI Punjab on Friday. They are facing a problem similar to the one in the inaugural season where the overseas players failed to make a significant contribution. Their troubles have deepened with Rahul Dravid, their best batsman so far, having returned home on paternity leave.
Bangalore's bowlers haven't been in top form either - they've managed to take only 20 wickets in four games, 11 in the last three - and they are up against perhaps the most in-form batting line-up of the tournament. Delhi suffered a crippling blow against Chennai Super Kings, losing both Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir cheaply, and few would have expected their overseas batsmen, AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan, to perform the way they did. They batted with methodical aggression and have reduced the dependency on Sehwag for posting huge scores.
Bangalore: The overseas players haven't pulled their weight. Kevin Pietersen has scored 43 runs in four innings while Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor have 32 and 36 respectively from three. Robin Uthappa has been poor at the top of the order as well with 35 runs in four innings at a strike-rate of only 71.
Delhi: Gambhir is the only top-order batsman from Delhi who hasn't got going. Sehwag plundered Punjab in a rain-curtailed innings while Dilshan rescued Delhi after the loss of two quick wickets with a feisty half-century against Chennai. The innings of the tournament, however, was de Villiers' 105 off 54 balls in his first innings of the IPL.
Watch out forde Villiers v Bangalore's South Africans: Bangalore's squad includes Jacques Kallis, Mark Boucher, Dale Steyn and Roelof van der Merwe and coach Ray Jennings, all of whom will have a fair idea of de Villiers' strengths and weaknesses. Of the four, though, only Kallis and Steyn may play and they'll strive to prevent the sort of damage de Villiers inflicted on Chennai.
Team newsDelhi haven't picked Glenn McGrath in their starting XI as yet, preferring the faster left-armer Dirk Nannes instead. Nannes, however, went wicketless against Chennai and Delhi might consider replacing him with either McGrath or the allrounder Farveez Maharoof.
Delhi: 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag (capt), 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Manoj Tiwary, 7 Daniel Vettori, 8 Dirk Nannes/Farveez Maharoof/Glenn McGrath, 9 Aavishkar Salvi, 10 Pradeep Sangwan, 11 Ashish Nehra.
Bangalore's main concern is replacing the reliable Dravid, but a lack of quality Indian Twenty20 batsmen in the ranks makes it a hard task. They had dropped Steyn for their last game and strengthened their batting by brining Taylor in but the move did not pay off. It might be time to consider using either Cameron White or Mark Boucher to bolster the middle order.
Bangalore: 1 Wasim Jaffer, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 Kevin Pietersen (capt), 5 Robin Uthappa (wk), 6 Ross Taylor/Cameron White/Mark Boucher, 7 Virat Kohli, 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 R Vinay Kumar, 10 Pankaj Singh, 11 Anil Kumble.
Head-to-head recordDelhi won both their contests against Bangalore in the 2008 season. The first match was a close contest with Bangalore falling short of Delhi's 191 by 10 runs. Delhi's margin of victory at the Chinnaswamy Stadium was five wickets with ten balls to spare.
George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo