It’s time to experiment and stay fresh

DC, RCB will look to rest players but not lose momentum ahead of playoffs

Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and Delhi Capitals (DC) will be keen to iron out any chinks ahead of the playoffs when they meet in Dubai on Friday.

The defeat against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Wednesday means RCB’s chances of a top-two finish are all but over. The result also meant DC was assured of a top-two spot.

The success of Avesh Khan has allowed DC to split the pace duo of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada and target batters through various passages. In T20 cricket, AB de Villiers has scored 77 runs against Axar Patel in 72 balls and has been dismissed once. The Capitals will look to hold their left-arm spinner back for de Villiers.

Among DC batters, Shimron Hetmyer has been explosive. He has been the anchor when wickets have fallen quickly, and the aggressor when the asking rate has gone up.

Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw have added heft. The destructive ability of Rishabh Pant makes DC more enterprising.

Fixing the batting order should be high on RCB’s agenda. The move to send Dan Christian at No. 3 against SRH failed.

Bizarre decision

However, more bizarre was the decision to send its best finisher AB de Villiers at 6, below floater Srikar Bharat. In the end, de Villiers faced only 13 deliveries and had six runs to get off the last two balls but couldn’t pull it off. De Villiers shouldn’t be batting lower than No. 5.

Their bowling looks in excellent shape. Harshal Patel has 29 wickets so far this season. Only Dwayne Bravo (32) and Kagiso Rabada (30) have taken more wickets in an IPL season. After a lean first half, Yuzvendra Chahal has rediscovered his guile. This augurs well for RCB.

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