Acing Wankhede dimension on the checklist as Royals set to take on brimming Capitals

back icon
safari
14 Apr 2021 | 10:56 AM
author
Bastab K Parida

Acing Wankhede dimension on the checklist as Royals set to take on brimming Capitals

In the larger picture, the absence of some key performers might have taken the sheen away from the game, but there is still plenty to offer

heart

Share

Delhi Capitals Social media team uploaded this little cute video of a few players doing the Baraati steps for a shoot, having absolute fun out there. Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant were in their usual element, but the biggest show of them all were Steven Smith and Chris Woakes, pulling off the “Indian faddu” dance single-handedly on their own. 

In the cauldron of sponsored shoots and forced banal dances for advertisements, this was straight from the heart. The smile on the players' faces told a story of its own that you’d be compelled to think if this was, in fact, an extension of the team’s culture. There is nothing there to suggest anything otherwise too, as from Rishabh Pant to Amit Mishra, from Prithvi Shaw to even coach Ricky Ponting, Delhi Capitals members have shown no hierarchy and come across as a unit that loves their own company - a huge positive in the times of bio-bubble and mental health issues.

Facing them on Thursday is Rajasthan Royals, a semi-revamped squad from that of last year, who had a mixed day on the field during their opening encounter against Punjab Kings. There are multiple ways you can read into this but it is probably fitting that two of the most attractive franchises in terms of the talents they possess will make for an evening worth remembering. 

Probably, it was. Till Ben Stokes held the aces for a significantly better showing after a bummer in UAE last year. However, late in Tuesday evening, as the news of Ben Stokes being ruled out of the IPL with a broken arm came out of the Royals boardroom, things have become pretty dire for the 2008 edition champions. After being promoted to open last year, Stokes had shown magnificent improvement as a T20 batsman to lay out a solid foundation for the Royals to take the plunge. Never mind, he scored a three-ball duck on Monday.

Historically and also like the first two matches in Mumbai suggested, no scores are safe here, thus batting second is a no-brainer. In the last three years, teams batting first have won only 37.21% of matches with a first-innings average of 166. It is a scary thought in the first instance and processing it would take time as both teams, who have already played a game each with contrasting results, at the same venue, would vouch for it.


(1st innings average at Wankhede Stadium)

The Durham all-rounder's absence, however, has opened up a spot for Jos Buttler once again to return to his opening slot. Since 2018, only David Warner and KL Rahul average more than Buttler yet the Englishman is one of the two batsmen to average over 25 and strike at over 150 as an opener in the same period. Accommodating Stokes at the top was to optimise the resources available at their disposal but having the English wicketkeeper back at his new preferred position would be the most comfortable arrangement.

 

Meanwhile, Buttler going back to open allows them the option of playing either David Miller or Liam Livingstone lest they want an all-round option in the middle-over as an extensive like-to-like replacement for the English talisman. But there is a catch there. Even though Livingstone has had success as an opener in the T20s since 2019, averaging 29.7 at an SR close to 143, in the middle-order, his strike rate and average drop dramatically. Whereas Miller, not least because of his experience, has been there and done that all with an affinity to tackle Rabada’s hard length’s better than anyone.

Delhi, on the other hand, will be stoked at the prospect of welcoming back their ace pacer Kagiso Rabada. After Axar Patel testing positive, it was a huge blow once again as ANI reported that Anrich Nortje tested positive for the virus as well, thus effectively being ruled out for the RR game. But with the presence of Chris Woakes and a fiery Avesh Khan, Delhi can possibly rest easy in this not-so-ideal situation. 

With Rajasthan Royals lacking the fire and brimstone of Jofra Archer, Delhi have a chance lurking for them to dish out the same treatment that they did to Chennai Super Kings. An improved Shikhar Dhawan will have a huge role to play in that regard. Dhawan is someone who usually starts slow and struggles to accelerate in the middle overs. However, in the last couple of seasons, he has been the aggressor while his batting partners have played the second fiddle. Since the start of last season, the southpaw scores at an SR of 143 against the pacers and against spin, he scores at 150, pretty much killing it everywhere. 

In the larger picture, the absence of some key performers might have taken the sheen away from the game, but there is still plenty to offer. There are some amazing hitters as well as some fantastic young talents like Chetan Sakariya and Riyan Parag who have shown maturity beyond their years. They will hold the key to the narrative. 

Probable XI

Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris Woakes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan

Rajasthan Royals: Manan Vohra, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Riyan Parag, David Miller, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi CapitalsIndian Premier League, 2021Rajasthan RoyalsDelhi CapitalsAnrich NortjeBen StokesShikhar DhawanJos ButtlerSanju Samson

Related Articles

safari
ANALYSIS
Rahul needs support if Punjab want to topple in-form Delhi
Meanwhile, the Rishabh Pant-led side might finally unleash Anrich Nortje on Sunday
userHardik Worah
01 May 2021
safari
ANALYSIS
Mumbai aim to turn their campaign around against a budding nemesis
Rajasthan Royals have defeated the defending champions in five out of the last six encounters
userSomesh Agarwal
28 Apr 2021
safari
ANALYSIS
Can struggling Rajasthan stop the Bangalore juggernaut?
Virat Kohli's men have won all their three games and are the only team yet to be beaten in IPL 2021
userHardik Worah
21 Apr 2021
safari
ANALYSIS
Nortje's inclusion could disrupt Delhi's balance
Rishabh and Co. will go face to face against Punjab Kings in Match 11 of IPL 2021
userHardik Worah
17 Apr 2021
safari
OPINION
Rajasthan aim for big things with their most exciting squad as yet
Except Jofra Archer's unavailability in the first half of the tournament, Rajasthan Royals look set to lift themselves after a forgettable 2020 season
userShubh Aggarwal
06 Apr 2021
safari
ANALYSIS
Can mercurial RR exploit an injury-ridden DC?
DC are facing unforeseen injury issues while RR are yet to find a match-winning combination
userShubh Aggarwal
13 Oct 2020
safari
ANALYSIS
Can Royals bounce back and stop Capitals’ juggernaut?
Delhi Capitals have won four out of their five matches this season so far, while Rajasthan Royals have lost their previous three games
userNitin Fernandes
08 Oct 2020
safari
ANALYSIS
RR fights to stay alive in the tournament
DC will aim for a spot in the Top 2 while RR will be fighting to keep breathing in IPL 2019
userShubh Aggarwal
03 May 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Sides with similar approach but contrasting campaigns
DC stand a chance to top the table while RR will fight to stay alive
userShubh Aggarwal
22 Apr 2019
safari
NEWS
KXIP v DC, Match Preview
A tussle between the northern neighbours to gain momentum in the tournament
userShubh Aggarwal
31 Mar 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved