“I know the hard work and the smart work I have put in through my gym sessions, so I wouldn’t say I am a very gifted player,” were Shreyas Iyer’s words after scoring 88 off 38 balls in Delhi Capitals’ win against KKR. The DC captain is one of the front-benchers in the school of Indian batsmen motivated by Virat Kohli’s methods of giving equal (if not more) importance to fitness and batting. If anything, Iyer is probably more dynamic as a captain than Kohli was when he first started to lead RCB.
To say it will be a battle of two equals based on this evidence when RCB and DCB meet on Monday for their IPL 2020 match in Dubai would perhaps be an overstatement and a touch unfair to Kohli’s might too. But it certainly will be interesting to see two similar thought processes collide. That both RCB and DC are sitting at the top half of the table will add that extra impetuous to this match.
While Iyer has been among runs in his team’s four matches, Kohli finally got his act together in RCB’s last game against Rajasthan Royals, scoring an unbeaten 72.
The similarities between these two sides do not end with Kohli and Iyer’s style of batting. Both RCB and DC’s top-order have played pivotal roles in their victories in the tournaments so far. Prithvi Shaw, Iyer and Rishabh Pant have done the job for DC. Devdutt Padikkal, Aaron Finch and AB de Villiers have been quite brilliant for RCB.
While Shaw has so far looked in control at the top of the order for DC, Delhi seem to have finally got Rishabh Pant back in form as he dusted off his rustiness with a quick-fire 17-ball 38 against KKR.
To add to it, there is Marcus Stonis and Shimron Hetmyer waiting in the wings.
On the bowling front, Kagiso Rabada is the go-to man for DC even though he leaked runs against KKR the other day.
South African pacer Anrich Nortje has been brilliant for DC in the opening and slog overs and bowled a brilliant penultimate over against KKR on Saturday.
Harshal Patel, as Ishant Sharma’s replacement, did well enough to finish with 2 for 34 in 4 overs but the fit-again Ravichandran Ashwin and Stoinis went for runs.
RCB, on the other hand, have been served well by the young Padikkal at the top. The left-hander, considered the next big thing in Indian cricket, is fourth in the run-scorers’ tally with 174 from four games, including three fifties.
And if Aaron Finch too gets going, it would be difficult for any side to stop the marauding Bangalore openers.
Kohli’s return to form is a relief for RCB’s batting unit, which also has the likes of the in-form AB de Villiers, Shivam Dube and Gurkeerat Singh among others.
Isuru Udana has been a welcome addition in RCB’s bowling line-up along side Navdeep Saini and the spin duo of Washington Sundar and Yuzvendra Chahal.
RCB: Virat Kohli (c), AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Aaron Finch, Josh Philippe, Chris Morris, Moeen Ali, Mohammed Siraj, Shahbaz Ahmed, Devdutt Padikkal, Yuzvendra Chahal, Navdeep Saini, Dale Steyn, Pawan Negi, Isuru Udana, Shivam Dube, Umesh Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Washington Sundar, Pavan Deshpande, Adam Zampa.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shimron Hetmyer, Kagiso Rabada, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Keemo Paul, Daniel Sams, Mohit Sharma, Anrich Nortje, Alex Carey (wk), Avesh Khan, Tushar Deshpande, Harshal Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav.