Bengaluru: Delhi Daredevils (DD) will have a golden opportunity to kick off their 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign on a winning note when they face an injury-ravaged Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday.
With South African star AB de Villiers still a doubtful starter for Saturday's encounter, and RCB going down to Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in their opening tie, morale will definitely be on the lower side for last season's runner-up team.
Besides de Villiers, the hosts will be without the services of their regular skipper Virat Kohli and opening batsman Lokesh Rahul, which further weakens their batting.
RCB will be hoping Jamaican power-hitter Chris Gayle will take on the onus of laying a solid foundation at the top alongside the likes of stand-in skipper Shane Watson, Kedar Jadhav, Mandeep Singh, Travis Head and Sachin Baby.
Despite a good bowling attack with English quick Tymal Mills leading the unit, RCB failed to stop the onslaught from the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Moises Henriques and Shikhar Dhawan in the previous match.
Besides Mills, the pace battery will have Sreenath Aravind and all-rounder Stuart Binny while leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal will have his task cut out in the middle overs to stop the onslaught from Daredevils hard-hitters like Chris Morris, Corey Anderson and Carlos Brathwaite.
The Daredevils, on the other hand, have their own injury concerns with Sri Lankan all-rounder Angelo Mathews, South African stumper Quinton de Kock and batsman Shreyas Iyer, already out of the contest.
After finishing sixth in the last edition, DD have still decided to go with a young batting unit comprising the likes of Sam Billings, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson.
The Zaheer Khan-led side, however, have bolstered their pace attack with the addition of Protea quick Kasigo Rabada and Aussie Pat Cummins.
The visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to their fast bowlers. If they are to play two spinners out of three -- Amit Mishra, Jayant Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem -- they will probably have to leave out pacer Mohammed Shami.
Royal Challengers Bangalore: Shane Watson (Captain), Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Travis Head, Kedar Jadhav (WK), Yuzvendra Chahal, Stuart Binny, Tymal Mills, Aniket Choudhary, Sreenath Aravind, Abu Nechim, Tabraiz Shamsi, Praveen Dubey, Iqbal Abdulla, Akshay Karnewar, Chris Jordan, Vikramjeet Malik, Mandeep Singh, Parvez Rasool, Harshal Patel, Kane Richardson, Sachin Baby, David Wiese, Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers,
Delhi Daredevils: Sam Billings, Sanju Samson, Corey Anderson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant (WK), Chris Morris, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan (Captain), Kagiso Rabada, Aditya Tare, Ankit Bawne, Shashank Singh, Pat Cummins, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed, M Ashwin, Chama Milind, Navdeep Saini, Pratyush Singh, Carlos Brathwaite, Angelo Mathews, Jayant Yadav, Shreyas Iyer.