Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore can seal a place in the top four when the two sides meet each other on Monday.
The picture regarding the top four positions is getting clear as IPL 2020 enters the final two days of the group stage. Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab are out of the reckoning after suffering defeats on the weekend, while Chennai Super Kings out of the race a long time ago. Mumbai Indians have sealed the top spot with 18 points. Delhi Capitals (DV) / Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) can join them with a win on November 2 when the two sides face each other in Abu Dhabi.
DC is going through a poor run of form as they succumbed to a big defeat against Mumbai on Saturday. They have been sitting in the top four for the whole season, but a defeat by a bigger margin against RCB may pave the way for their exit. A victory or a close game is definitely what DC needs on Monday.
Meanwhile, RCB’s good run of form has also been extinguished late in the tournament. They suffered defeat against Hyderabad on Saturday. At one point in the season, RCB’s qualification for playoffs looked a formality. However, they find themselves in the same situation as DC while going into the last league game of the season.
DC has struggled in the batting department. The struggles in the batting department for DC mirrors Shikhar Dhawan. The experienced Southpaw has failed to get a good score in the last few innings. Other batsmen such as Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer have subsequently failed to steady the innings after the early departure of Dhawan. Delhi needs to regroup quickly and click as a unit against RCB to stand a chance of winning.
Similarly, RCB has also been struggling with the bat. Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have not scored quick runs in the last few games, putting pressure on the lower middle order to get runs. Bangalore needs to find a way to balance caution and aggression on Monday to clinch a victory and seal a place in the playoffs.
The form of DC’s main bowing options- Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada has also tailed in the final stages of the season. They are finding it difficult to make breakthroughs, but having very few runs to defend on a few occasions has also not helped their cause.
RCB has found the balance in the bowling unit by including Chris Morris in the starting XI. The South African is having a good tournament. However, the overall unit has not been doing well together in the last few games. Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar have been phenomenal for RCB in decreasing the flow of runs in middle overs. The spin duo is also experiencing a dip in form at the wrong time of the season.
Both teams look to have peaked earlier in the campaign. A result on Monday will make sure that they can still make the early season form count and regroup before the playoff. It would be a monumental disaster for the losing team as they will have to rely on Mumbai to defeat Hyderabad to qualify for playoffs.
By Kiran Thakare