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Royal Challengers face uphill challenge

The first of the Royal Challengers Bangalore will need to play out of their skins tomorrow in a do or die match against the league leader the Delhi Daredevils, as they find themselves in a real do or die situation to make the Semi Finals.

Tomorrow’s match if indeed the Royal Challengers Bangalore manage to put one across the Delhi Daredevils will be the stuff legends are made off.

Especially, since must win matches are accompanied by staggering amounts of pressure, but in one sense it simplifies the demands for the teams that face them, they really have no other option but to find some way to win and so it is for the Royal Challengers Bangalore who know that victory in their last two matches will secure them a berth in the Semi Finals.

Getting those wins though will prove an infinitely harder task. The Delhi Daredevils have lived up to the pre-tournament hype by being the most dominant team in Season 2009 of the DLF IPL. They have won nine of their 12 matches, most with a fair degree of comfort and virtually all without a significant contribution from the captain Virender Sehwag, who was out of action for a large part of the round-robin phase with a finger injury.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore who are at the sixth spot in the table with 12 points from as many matches, have everything to play for as a loss would undoubtedly throw them out of the Semi Final race. The Delhi Daredevils though would have other things on their mind and would be hoping to carry forward their winning momentum to the last four stage.

Besides the semifinal spot up for grabs, the match also provides Anil Kumble's men an opportunity to take revenge of their previous six-wicket loss against the Delhi Daredevils drawing inspiration from their last match win over second placed Chennai Super Kings, the Royal Challengers Bangalore would need something spectacular tomorrow to halt a consistent Delhi which boasts of innumerable match-winners.

AB de Villiers has been the pillar of Delhi Dardevils batting, while Tilakaratne Dilshan and Dinesh Karthik provide the much neded fire power in the middle-order. But what remains worrisome for the team is its captain Virender Sehwag and opener Gautam Gambhir form. A devastating duo together they have just not clicked together in this tournament.

Rather ominously for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, Sehwag has, despite his team having already qualified for the semifinals set himself some mini goals before those matches are played. “I want to get among the runs before the semi-finals. That would be great for the team,” he remarked following Sunday night’s comfortable 14-run win over the defending champions Rajasthan Royals.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore though cannot afford to be distracted by what the opposition are up to - their whole tournament sits in front of them and for Anil Kumble’s team it will all be about sticking to what they have done extremely well in their last two matches which they won.

In both those matches New Zealander Ross Taylor shone with the bat, first against the Kolkata Knight Riders, in which he made a violent 81 off 33 balls, and then a more sedate 46 off 50 balls to provide the foundation for their successful chase against the Chennai Super Kings.

However, with a rejuvenated Asish Nehra and Dirk Nannes up front, the Delhi Daredevil's bowling has been more than impressive. Young Pradeep Sangwan has been consistent throughout picking up crucial wickets, while Amit Mishra provides the sting in the Delhi Dardevil's spin department.

The Royal Challengers Bangalore though would love for their inconsistent top order with Jacques Kallis and Jesse Ryder to follow. This duo alongwith Robin Uthappa have had a mediocre Season 2009 by their high standards and performances in both the upcoming games would undoubtedly go a long way in making amends.

And although the Royal Challengers Bangalore's bowling has looked quite mundane, Kumble and Co. would take heart from the fact that they managed to restrict Chennai Super Kings to mere 129 in their last encounter. Thus, for the Royal Challengers Bangalore the equation is simple, to execute their game plans and go all out for a WIN.

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