Bangalore, Apr 6: Confident Delhi Daredevils keen on maintaining a good run in the fifth edition of the Indian Premier League as they take on last edition's runners-up Royal Challengers Bangalore at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on Saturday.
While the Delhi team face a tough challenge on Saturday, after an easy eight wicket win against Kolkata Knight Riders on Thursday, Vettori-led Royal Challengers will be playing their opening match of this year's IPL at their home ground tomorrow.
Virender Sehwag-led Delhi Daredevils, have a task at hand as they face title favourites RCB, which has already created a lot of hype with the existing line-up before their first outing this season.
Daredevils bank on its key players Sehwag, Irfan Pathan, Aaron Finch, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Roelof van der Merwe.
Local players like Venugopal Rao, Naman Ojha also add strength to their batting. Daredevils need to counter the problem of inconsistency, as the players down the order are not exposed and might create a flutter if the top order fails. Bowling is their strength.
On the other hand, Challengers are more confident stepping into the fifth season, as explosive batsman Chris Gayle, the top scorer of the last year's edition with 608 runs (2 centuries and 3 fifties) leading the team from the front and latest sensation Virat Kohli have been the backbone of RCB's batting.
Moreover, the squad includes Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers, Cheteshwar Pujara, Saurabh Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal among others.
Though the team performed consistently in the last three editions of the IPL, to finish 2nd, 3rd and 2nd respectively, the team lacked consistency in the bowling department. Chris Gayle alone won a couple of matches last season after replacing the injured Dirk Nannes a few weeks ahead of the fourth season.
Sreenath Arvind and Asad Pathan, the pick of the bowlers for RCB last season might get some support this time around as the team has bought a few players to strengthen its bowling unit which includes Vinay Kumar, who is back playing for his home team after a year's stint with Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Muttaiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) who also represented Kochi last year, will be available for the entire season as he is relieved of all commitments after retiring from all forms of the game.
The team has a couple of all-rounders, starting from skipper Daniel Vettori, Andrew McDonald and Ryan Ninnan adding more strength.
During the last season, though the team reached the finals, initially RCB struggled to get along as batting woes troubled the team until the arrival of the Jamaican. Things changed after Chris Gayle joined RCB. Considered to be the lucky mascot, took the team to the finals.
Now, stepping into the fifth season, if Gayle fails, can the star-studded batting line-up ensure RCB a win is the question that leaves one pondering.
With more youngsters, RCB is sure to dominate and will be eager to start with a win as they plan to accomplish their long lasting dream of winning the trophy.
According to stats, RCB has played 7 matches against Daredevils in IPL and has registered only two wins so far. This might give Sehwag's team a psychological edge against the Royal Challengers Bangalore. Given the form, both the teams are equally poised, as Virat Kohli and Gayle are certain to capture the attention while it will be nice to see how these batsmen face Irfan Pathan and Morne Morkel on Saturday.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Daniel Vettori (Capt.), Mayank Agarwal, KP Appanna, Sreenath Aravind, Arun Karthik, Raju Bhatkal, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan, Muralidharen Gautam, Chris Gayle, Mohammad Kaif, Abrar Kazi, Zaheer Khan, Virat Kohli, Charl Langeveldt, Andrew McDonald, Abhimanyu Mithun, Muttiah Muralitharan, Karun Nair, Dirk Nannes, Ryan Ninan, Harshal Patel, Asad Pathan, Luke Pomersbach, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rilee Rossouw, Jamaluddin Syed Mohammad, Saurabh Tiwary, Vinay Kumar, Vijay Zol.
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (Capt.), Ajit Agarkar, Irfan Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Puneet Bisht, Robin Bist, Naman Ojha (wk), Shahbaz Nadeem, Venugopal Rao, Vikas Mishra, Yogesh Nagar, Zafir Patel, Sunny Gupta, Tejashwi Yadav, Aavishkar Salvi, Kuldeep Raval, Manpreet Juneja, Pawan Negi, Prashant Naik, Aaron Finch, Andre Russell, Doug Bracewell, Glenn Maxwell, Gulam Bodi, Morne Morkel, Roelf van der Merwe.
Match starts at 16:00 IST on Saturday.
Also playing on Saturday: Rajasthan Royals Vs Kolkata Knight Riders in Jaipur at 20:00 IST