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Indian Premier League 2019

IPL 2019 daily brief: Delhi Capitals seal play-off spot, but will Royal Challengers Bangalore ever learn?

by Manoj Narayan 3 minute read
Image credit: AFP

Delhi Capitals sealed their play-off spot. Royal Challengers Bangalore were eliminated. And the wait continued for Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians. The IPL 2019 double-header Sunday, April 28, had it all … sort of.

There were Andre Russell and Hardik Pandya matching six-hitting skills – Pandya came out better, in fact – Virat Kohli returning home to Delhi, and flopping, and Kolkata finding the best solution to infighting – winning.

There were no dubious dismissals or missed no-balls, but the weekend still had plenty.

What’s hot

Delhi Capitals. Top of the table, play-off spot all tidily sealed, and plenty to smile about. Their 16-run win over Bangalore on Sunday meant they became the second side, after Chennai Super Kings, to secure a play-off position – it is the first time in seven years they’re doing so.

Delhi’s rise is testament to what good ownership and empowered management can do to a team. There was no overhaul in terms of playing personnel – they had a quality young side, and they trusted it. The think-tank merely added experience to it, crucially trading in Shikhar Dhawan, who has been excellent after a poor start, while plugging other holes.

Sourav Ganguly was brought in as an advisor, alongside head coach Ricky Ponting, and more cosmetically, there were changes in the jersey design, and importantly, in the name – from Daredevils to Capitals. That name change prompted much guffawing when it was announced, but it did symbolise the message of the JSW group, the new owners – a new era, a fresh start, without baggage from the past.

It’s all worked to charm so far.

What’s not

Virat Kohli is not impressed ...

Virat Kohli is not impressed …

Royal Challengers Bangalore. Now that they’re out of the running for the playoffs, it’s time for the analysis. And it can all be summed up in a few words: when will they learn?

The trip to the capital was always going to be hard for Bangalore. They had lost the in-form Moeen Ali, and without Dale Steyn, whose stint with Bangalore was brief but effective, the bowlers went back to the bad habits. They didn’t really have much depth to countenance the loss of key personnel – the likes of Gurkeerat Singh, Shivam Dubey and Heinrich Klaasen were brought in, but none of them really made their opportunities count.

None of that was a surprise. Plenty has been written about Bangalore and their curious auction strategy – the bowling required strengthening, but they splurged on batsmen – and it’s always the same old story. In fact, they could learn something from Delhi, and how they are managed top down.

But that’s the thing: when will they learn?

What they said

“A lot of bickering and back-biting can go on. [I try to] make sure nothing like that happens.”

– Dinesh Karthik, the Kolkata captain, when despite victory, he was inevitably asked about Andre Russell’s comments questioning his decisions.

What they didn’t say

“Russell who?”

– Hardik Pandya, after hammering a 34-ball 91 in response to Russell’s 40-ball 80*.

What’s next

The battle for No.4. Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab will clash in Hyderabad, knowing the winner can ease their playoffs hopes to a significant degree.

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