Rajasthan up against formidable Delhi to push their case for Play-offs

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safari
24 Sep 2021 | 06:01 PM
authorShubh Aggarwal

Rajasthan up against formidable Delhi to push their case for Play-offs

The only concern for Delhi is Marcus Stoinis' fitness

If Delhi Capitals had a great chance to win their first trophy last year, it is even better this season. Apart from looking more formidable themselves, the giant force of Mumbai Indians seems dwindled this year. The eight-wicket win against Sunrisers Hyderabad showcased the break has not affected them, placing themselves in a great position to take advantage of Mumbai’s hit-and-miss form. 

Rajasthan Royals also began their second half on a winning note. However, they got out of jail rather than recording a convincing win. Taking the field in Match 36, they would know their opponents this time, Delhi, won’t cut them any slack. With Kolkata Knight Riders climbing up the ladder, they also need to push their case for the Play-offs.

Exuberant RR batting versus efficient DC bowling

Rajasthan are an exuberant batting line-up and we saw a good measure of it in their contest against Punjab. They kept going for the big hits irrespective of the result. Consequently, none of their batsmen reached the fifty-mark - Yashasvi Jaiswal did get to 49 - but they had enough contributions to post 185 on the board. That too despite poor returns in the death overs. 

The approach will be put to test against the Delhi attack which is amongst the best in the season. The graph below also highlights that Rajasthan have not cut it as a bowling unit as yet. 

Delhi flattened Hyderabad with their hit-the-deck pacers upfront but a change in approach can help them neutralize the Rajasthan batting completely. For that, Ravichandran Ashwin might take the new ball. A pioneer for spinners in Powerplay, it is the presence of two left-handers in Rajasthan’s opening combination that may prompt the move. Evin Lewis has a strike-rate of only 104.2 against off-spinners since 2020, his lowest against any bowling type. The same number for Yashasvi Jaiswal isn’t too great either - 119.2. In addition, Lewis averages only 21.9 against that bowling type. 

If Ashwin does bowl in the Powerplay, it will increase the use of pace in the middle-overs. Anrich Nortje, Kagiso Rabada and Avesh Khan are fond of hitting the deck hard which might not sit well with Rajasthan’s middle-order. None amongst Sanju Samson (22.9), Liam Livingstone (27.1) and Riyan Parag (6.2) have a boastful average against back of a length and short pitched deliveries against pace since 2020. Nortje would be eager to fight fire with fire given a bowling strike-rate of only 9.7 for his seven wickets in the middle-overs. 

Pant shows promise

One of the more polished aspects of Delhi’s campaign this season has been Rishabh Pant’s form. Struggling to get going last season (average 31.2, strike-rate 114), Pant is back inflicting damage with the bat this edition, scoring 248 runs this far with an average of 41.2 and striking at 136. A more prominent aspect about his batting form has been his returns against spin. Pant is yet to be dismissed by a tweaker in IPL 2021 and has milked them at a strike-rate of 133.

He has a great chance of improving on those numbers given Rajasthan’s struggle in the spin department. If their previous game is any indication, they won’t invest in that facet against with Rahul Tewatia acting as their prime spinner. For a leg-spinner, he is rather dependent on flatter trajectory. 

Pant’s form against Rajasthan will also boost his confidence. In the last five games against them, Pant has notched up four fifties. His overall average (69) and strike-rate  (175) versus Rajasthan are both his highest against any opponent in IPL. The fact that he scored a fluent 35 not out off 21 balls against Hyderabad will add to the worries of Sanju Samson’s men. 

Eyes on Morris

With a paycheque of INR 16.25 Cr, Chris Morris was always going to attract eyeballs. However, it was a terrible game against Punjab Kings which has intensified the spotlight on him. He scored only 5 off five balls with the bat but conceded 47 in his four overs. 25 of those were leaked in the 10th over of Punjab’s run chase, a point in the innings where teams mostly consolidate. 

Morris is probably the first name on the sheet after the captain and arguably the only unrivalled overseas player. His all-round skills helped Rajasthan beat Delhi in their first meeting this season. A vital cog in their line-up, Rajasthan will hope Morris hits form soon. 

Probable XIs

Delhi Capitals

There is no final update on Marcus Stoinis’ injury as yet. While Nortje suggested he is fine, the final results on his scans are awaited. In case he is not rested, one amongst Steve Smith or Lalit Yadav might get a go. Sam Billings joined the squad late and is still serving his quarantine period. 

Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis/Steve Smith/Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada , Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan

Rajasthan Royals

With no forced changes in order, Rajasthan is expected to field the same XI fetched them two points against Punjab

Evin Lewis, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Liam Livingstone, Mahipal Lomror, Riyan Parag, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman, Kartik Tyagi

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Delhi Capitals vs Rajasthan RoyalsIndian Premier League, 2021Delhi CapitalsRajasthan RoyalsRavichandran AshwinAnrich NortjeRishabh PantEvin LewisYashasvi JaiswalChris MorrisSanju Samson

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