IPL ultimate 4: Mumbai once more, or can Kohli, AB reason an disappointed? | Recreation

AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.

AB de Villiers and Virat Kohli.

The Indian Premier League (IPL) playoffs begin in the UAE on Thursday with
last year’s champions Mumbai as favourites and Virat Kohli’s Royal
Challengers Bangalore among the teams looking to cause an upset.

Surprise package the Delhi Capitals, who like Bangalore are aiming
for a first title, will take on the Mumbai Indians in the first
qualifier on Thursday with a place in the final on 10 November at stake.

The losers of that match will get another crack at qualifying on
Sunday against either Kohli’s Bangalore or Sunrisers Hyderabad, who
clash on Friday in an eliminator.

A look at the strengths and weaknesses of the four teams still standing in the world’s richest Twenty20 league:

Mumbai Indians

Rohit Sharma’s four-time champions
underlined their status as tournament favourites by being the first team
to qualify for the playoffs as they topped the standings with nine wins
in 14 games. 

South African wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock has led the
batting with 443 runs while getting key support from Suryakumar Yadav,
Ishan Kishan and Kieron Pollard.

Pace bowlers Trent Boult and Jasprit Bumrah battered the opposition with a combined 43 wickets. 

The 2019 champions had already qualified top of the table before they
were hammered by Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday and, despite fitness
doubts over Sharma, are targeting back-to-back titles for the first

Delhi Capitals

The Ricky Ponting-coached Capitals
made a sensational start, winning five of their first six games, before
losing four in a row but then beating Bangalore to reach the playoffs.

India opener Shikhar Dhawan is the key batsman and this year became
the first player to score two consecutive IPL centuries. But Rishabh
Pant, India’s new batting hope, has been misfiring.

The South African pace duo of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada have
been impressive with Nortje bowling the fastest ever IPL delivery, a 97
miles per hour (156 kph) thunderbolt, and Rabada leading the IPL
wicket-takers with 25 victims. 

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Skipper David Warner came into his own with an unbeaten 85 off 58 balls to take Hyderabad into the playoffs on Tuesday.

The 2016 IPL winners benefited from the return of
wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, who hit two half-centuries in
three successive wins to help them to third in the standings.

With West Indies all-rounder Jason Holder contributing and the deadly
spin of Rashid Khan, who has taken 19 wickets, Warner will be hoping
for the same result in this week’s eliminator as in the 2016 final when
Hyderabad beat Bangalore to lift the trophy.

Royal Challengers Bangalore

India captain Virat
Kohli has never won an IPL title and it hurts. RCB finished bottom of
the eight-team table last year, and after seven wins and seven defeats
they scraped into the playoffs on run rate after losing their final
match to Hyderabad.

Kohli leads a strong batting line-up, combining with young opener
Devdutt Padikkal for 932 runs while South African veteran AB de Villiers
has been the go-to man in crunch situations with an overall strike rate
of 163.

Spinners Yuzvendra Chahal and Washington Sundar will be key with
their ability to choke an opposition team’s run-flow while claiming
wickets. Kohli insists his team are worth their place, but said he needs
them to be “more brave” when chasing runs.

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