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Qualifier 1 spot at stake when Delhi take on Bangalore

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It’s a win or bust situation on Monday when Delhi take on Bangalore in their final league stage match of the season at the Shiekh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Both teams are tied at 14 points a-piece and the victor will seal a berth in Qualifier 1 of the 2020 Indian T20 League playoffs. The loser, on the other hand, will be at the mercy of Mumbai, who take on Hyderabad, the team that is currently in fifth and only needs a victory to guarantee themselves a place in the top 4.

Neither team will like to pin their hopes on a team that has already sealed the top spot and will be looking to make changes to their playing XI ahead of the playoffs. With both Delhi and Bangalore treating this as a must-win game, here are the key facts from the contest:

The Morris magic has faded

When South African Chris Morris returned from injury and was inserted into the starting XI by the team management, Bangalore saw a turn in form and won three of the first four matches that the veteran featured in.

Morris too was brilliant with the ball, picking nine wickets in four matches at an economy rate of just 5.25 and was proving to be the game-changer for Bangalore.

However, over the last four matches, Morris has struggled and so have Bangalore. The South African all-rounder has picked up just two wickets in his last four matches and been particularly expensive in his last three matches, giving away more than nine runs an over in each match.

Morris' slump in form has coincided with Bangalore, illustrating how crucial he is to his team. It remains to be seen if the all-rounder can find his touch again and deliver the goods for his side.

Players to watch out for

Delhi – Kagiso Rabada

What seemed a foregone conclusion this season has suddenly become a two-horse race. Kagiso Rabada was well clear of any other competitor in the race for the Purple Cap, but just two wickets in his last three matches and eight in his last four for Mumbai's Jasprit Bumrah has seen the two tied at the top with 23 wickets a-piece. Rabada's downturn in form has also seen a Delhi collapse with the team losing four on the trot. Rabada’s performance directly impacts Delhi's fortunes, hence it is key that the South African brings his A-game on Monday.

Bangalore – Devdutt Padikkal

After starting the season with three fifties in four matches, Bangalore opener Devdutt Padikkal slightly fizzled out through the middle stage of the season but the youngster has found his groove again and been in good form off-late. His 74-run knock against Mumbai was an innings of high class against one of the best bowling units in the league and also saw him climb to fifth on the Orange Cap list. It’s not exactly a do-or-die game for Bangalore, but it certainly is a match of huge significance and the team will be hoping that their breakthrough star can be the difference-maker on the day.

Stats to watch out for

1: Bangalore pacer Navdeep Saini needs just one wicket to complete 50 scalps in T20s.

3: Bangalore’s South African speedster Dale Steyn is just three wickets shy of 100 in the Indian T20 League.

4: Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli needs four sixes to complete 300 sixes in T20s.

51: Rishab Pant needs 51 runs to complete 3000 runs in T20s.

868: Virat Kohli has scored 868 runs against Delhi in the Indian T20 League, the most he’s managed against any team in the league.

Writer’s pick

Delhi have lost four on the trot and are struggling with both bat and ball. Bangalore too have lost their last three but their batting line-up has been in rather good touch of late. Going off that, we back Bangalore to win this contest and seal a berth in Qualifier 1.

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Sajjad Hussain

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