IPL 2021 | Qualifier 1 | DC vs CSK: Prithvi Shaw hits first fifty from Capitals side in UAE leg
10 Oct 2021
It has come down to the main stage of the Indian Premier League 2021. After going through a lot of ordeals which included facing a huge setback in terms of postponement due to Covid-19, the tournament, which was started in April, is now finally coming to its thrilling end in October.
The two teams facing each other for a place in the qualifier have been on totally different sides of the spectrum as far as the qualification to the Playoffs is concerned. But come to the Eliminator and all the lines of ‘concern’ would be blurred when Eoin Morgan’s men clash against the team led by Virat Kohli, in his last season as the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore.
The entire UAE leg of the IPL 2021 has been a breath of fresh air for the Knight Riders who had only one way of qualifying to the Playoffs, by winning at least five games of the seven left in the second leg. They did exactly that thanks to some brilliant performances from their newfound talent Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill, who is back in form and the backing by others such as Nitish Rana and Rahul Tripathi.
However, what has been the biggest plus in the second leg for KKR is its spinners in Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine getting the pitches that support them and Sharjah has been one such stadium with pitches of the liking of spinners.
The Eliminator is also scheduled to be played at Sharjah and although the wicket has gotten better a bit, the trio of Shakib Al Hasan, Narine and Chakravarthy would be more than handy against the batting lineup of Bangalore. Also, it is not just spinners, the change of pace by Lockie Ferguson, and inform Shivam Mavi could be very beneficial on this ground as well.
Moreover, with Kolkata having won two out of two games played at Sharjah and RCB winning only of their two games, the Knight Riders would back themselves to make it three in three.
RCB have been in the Playoffs (Semi-Finals combined) five times so far and they have made it to the Final, which makes a success rate of 20%. Also, the last time they were in the Playoffs, they were beaten in the Eliminator by Sunrisers Hyderabad. So, for Virat Kohli and his men to make a mark, they would have to do something they did way back in 2016—make it past the Eliminator.
And what could be better for the men in red and gold than their last match experience where out of nowhere, Srikar Bharat had a poetic justice to his innings, hitting the last ball for a six to win a game for RCB.
The last time that happened, was done in the Champions League, a tournament that does not exist anymore and by a player called Arun Karthik, way back in 2011.
Thus, they already have something to lean back on in terms of repeating history and thus in form players like Glenn Maxwell, Harshal Patel and Bharat will back themselves to get their team past the Eliminator hurdle.
Match Number: Eliminator
Date and Time: October 11, 2021, 07:30 pm IST (10:00 GMT), 06:00 pm Local, 02:00 pm GMT
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Sharjah
Broadcast and Livestream: Star Sports and Hotstar
The pitch at Sharjah has gotten better, but with the amount of heat in UAE, even a fresh wicket would have something on offer for spinners, especially in the second inning with the amount of dew remaining negligible.
A total of more than 160 in a match of the stature of the Playoffs could be more than competitive.
The temperatures would be in the mid-thirties and humidity would remain low and thus there might be chances of dew later on.
A captain winning the toss would look to bowl first in such conditions.
However, with it being a knockout game, having run on the board is not a bad option either as the dew might not be as poignant as to affect the grip of the spinners or to make the wicket a sliding one.
The RCB have seemed to have finally hit the right nail and Bharat could be their right number three, especially after his match-winning knock in the last game. With Maxwell at four and AB de Villiers at five, the Bangalore batting packs a real punch.
No changes seem to be the mode to go for the RCB as well. Having played the last three games with the same XI, there is not even a need to change it right ahead of an important game.
Dushmantha Chameera and Wainindu Hasaranga have been released from the IPL bio-bubble for Sri Lanka's World Cup qualifiers but that would not be an issue for them since RCB have clicked with their current combination.
Virat Kohli (c), Devdutt Padikkal, KS Bharat (wk), Daniel Christian, Glenn Maxwell, AB de Villiers, Shahbaz Ahmed, Harshal Patel, George Garton, Mohammed Siraj, Yuzvendra Chahal
Kolkata would also look to go with the same XI as players have performed well in their roles and have been on the money in all the last few games. If Andre Russell gets fit before the game, they might just try and fit him in the playing XI, but that looks like a very rare possibility. There is an off chance that Shakib Al Hasan might have to leave the IPL bubble as well for Bangladesh's World Cup preparations, but there has not been any confirmation from KKR or BCB yet.
Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Shakib Al Hasan/Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy
Wicketkeeper: Srikar Bharat
Batters: Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers, Shubman Gill
All-rounders: Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Glenn Maxwell
Bowlers: Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Harshal Patel
Vice-Captain: Shubman Gill
Captain: Glenn Maxwell