The sweet spot – the place where you know just what you need to do, who you need to bowl, who you need to push up the order, what you need to do to trouble the opposition. That sweet spot is what the Rising Pune Supergiant and the Delhi Daredevils are looking for as they head into IPL 2017 Match 9 on Tuesday.
While the Rising Pune Supergiant chased down the target set by the Mumbai Indians pretty well in their first match, RPS floundered while batting first against KXIP – only Ben Stokes and Manoj Tiwary impressed – before their bowlers barely put up a fight in the chase.
What is clear as far as RPS are concerned is that, if they are to make it to the top four this season, their batting needs to click the vast majority of the time. Their bowlers – Imran Tahir can't do it all on his own – aren't going to win them too many matches.
So, in order to get the batting order right, RPS might consider making a few changes, specifically at the top, where Mayank Agarwal has been extremely poor. Faf Du Plessis has been tipped to come back in and if that happens, this RPS batting lineup, with Steve Smith, Stokes, MS Dhoni and Tiwary to follow, looks all the more threatening.
What will also be crucial for RPS will be the toss.
They are clearly a chasing side – they cannot defend totals – and if they end up bowling first, they will have a pretty good chance of posting a second win on the board in IPL 2017.
Chasing was the problem for the Delhi Daredevils in their only match of the season so far. After RCB could only put up a modest total on a ground like the Chinnaswamy, where totals nearing 200 are the norm, DD succumbed to the pressure.
There are too many very-talented-but-not-enough-mental-toughness batsmen in the DD lineup, and the key role for Rahul Dravid and Paddy Upton will be to get those batsmen playing better under pressure situations.
If they do that, the Delhi Daredevils, with a really good bowling lineup, will go a long way. If the likes of Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Aditya Tare and Shreyas Iyer, when he returns from illness, can play innings like the one Rishabh Pant did, then DD will definitely be contenders this season.
When and where to watch live
RPS vs Delhi Daredevils is set to begin at 8pm IST (3.30pm BST). TV and live streaming information for IPL 2017 Match 9 is below.
India: TV: Sony Six, Sony Six HD, Sony Max (Hindi), Sony ESPN and Sony ESPN HD (Telugu, Tamil, Bengali). Live Streaming: Hotstar.
South Africa: TV: SuperSport Two. Live Streaming: SuperSport Live Video.
UK: TV: Sky Sports 2. Live Streaming: Watch Sky Sports.
USA: TV: Willow TV. Live Streaming: Willow TV Online.
Middle East: TV: OSN Sports Cricket HD. Live Streaming: OSN Play.
International: Live Streaming: Cricketgateway.