The Royal Challengers Bangalore did not have the greatest of opening matches in IPL 2017, with the finalists from last season clearly missing Virat Kohli and AB De Villiers. Well, they will have to do without their two superstar batsmen again, when RCB host the Delhi Daredevils at the Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday.
Kohli is still a fair way off from returning from a shoulder injury, while De Villiers is still feeling discomfort in his back, which means he will most likely sit this match out as well, after missing the defeat to the Sunrisers Hyderabad on IPL 2017 opening day Wednesday.
A call on De Villiers will be taken just before the game, but the South African is highly unlikely to feature, with the batsman, like Kohli, saying he will only take the field if he is 100 per cent fit.
After their bowlers could not stop the SRH batsmen from posting a total of over 200, RCB needed a special innings from either Chris Gayle, Travis Head, Kedar Jadhav or Shane Watson, but, despite all of them getting starts, none of them could carry on to play a match-winning innings.
That cannot happen on Saturday.
The Delhi Daredevils might not be as intimidating as SRH and this match might be played at home, but RCB need their batsmen to step up. They must show that they can win matches without De Villiers and Kohli.
The key man will be Gayle.
In his innings of 32 from 21 balls, the West Indian looked good, but looking good for a short while will not do. The same could be said of Head, who came in at No.3 in the first match, and Jadhav.
In the bowling, RCB might consider making one change, by bringing in Samuel Badree, the spinner. But then, that would mean dropping Tymal Mills, which is unlikely to happen.
Pawan Negi is in contention for a place in the playing XI, with Stuart Binny the man under pressure.
Like RCB, the Delhi Daredevils have also had plenty of injury problems to deal with.
Quinton de Kock and JP Duminy are out for the season.
Shreyas Iyer will miss the first couple of games after picking up chicken pox.
Angelo Mathews could miss the entire IPL 2017 season as well as he recuperates from a hamstring injury, which has kept him out of all action since January.
And Rishabh Pant is a doubtful starter for this game, after his father passed away. Pant, though, trained with the team on Friday, but if he isn't in the right space to play, Aditya Tare could come in.
The Delhi Daredevils, who named the experienced fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus as a replacement for JP Duminy, also need to make a decision over which overseas fast bowler to play – Kagiso Rabada or Pat Cummins, while Carlos Brathwaite and Corey Anderson are the all-rounder options.
DD, mentored by Rahul Dravid, have a strong Indian bowling attack as well, with Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem all set to feature, along with the skipper Zaheer Khan. Jayant Yadav and M Ashwin are expected to miss out.
Confirmed playing XI:
RCB: Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Kedar Jadhav, Shane Watson, Vishnu Vinod, Stuart Binny, Pawan Negi, Tymal Mills, Iqbal Abdulla, Yuzvendra Chahal, Billy Stanlake.
Delhi Daredevils: Sam Billings, Aditya Tare, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Carlos Brathwaite, Chris Morris, Amit Mishra, , Pat Cummins, Shahbaz Nadeem, Zaheer Khan.