As Virat Kohli & Co take on Delhi Capitals on Friday in their last IPL round-robin engagement at the Dubai international stadium, the result may not affect their progression in the competition but will be an indicator as to where they stand when challenged by the most consistent team in the tournament.
Also, the match gives the teams an opportunity to tweak and tinker with the team. While Capitals don’t have much to worry about, RCB have a few things to iron out.
To begin with, after 13 matches, they are yet to find the most suitable batsman for the No.3 position and their experiment with Dan Christian has bombed in the previous two matches in which he scored 0 & 1 respectively. Pushing wicketkeeper batsman S Bharat back to the one down slot could be a wiser proposition for the RCB think-tank. This would also mean that AB de Villiers will get more time in the middle.
Among the bowlers, the form of left-arm pacer George Garton will not be lost on the decision makers. The 24-year-old Englishman has conceded 86 runs from nine overs across three matches, while picking up three wickets. These are expensive numbers and given his erring lines and faltering lengths against Hyderabad, RCB could lean towards bringing in either New Zealand pacer Kyle Jamieson or Wanindu Hasaranga, the Sri Lankan leg-spinner.
Delhi, on the other hand, will look for a more consistent show from former skipper Shreyas Iyer. In five matches this season, the Mumbaikar, who is back after an injury layoff, has compiled 126 runs with his strike rate hovering around 106. The other cause for concern for the Delhi outfit will be the fitness of their all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who has recovered from a hamstring injury sustained at the beginning of the UAE leg of the IPL. His return will be a shot in the arm for Delhi.
This dress rehearsal for the playoffs will also witness some keen battles like the one between young pacer Avesh Khan and the RCB top order. Also, an exciting match-up between spinner Axar Patel and the red-hot Glenn Maxwell could well spice up the contest.