CAN ROYALS STOP THE TABLE TOPPERS.
DATE: 29th April, 2012
TIME: 16:00 (IST)
VENUE: Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
After a five day off, Rajasthan Royals are now in Delhi to take on Virendra Sehwags team at Feroz Shah Kotla. A couple of losses for Royals and a couple of wins on the trot for the Daredevils put the latter in a head start in the match on 29th. The faceoff between the two teams in past two years have produced mixed results DD were superior in IPL 2010 while Royals were in 2011. A majestic display against Mumbai in the last match, makes Delhi a very difficult to beat Delhi in their fortress, where they have won three matches out of four this season. DDs last win must have healed their wounds from the loss against Pune here. But Royals can draw inspiration from that match and try to spot chinks in Daredevils armor and chalk out a plan to defeat them.
The four victories and a loss against RCB highlight the fact that the strength of Rajasthan Royals lies not in individual brilliance but in collective effort. Rahul Dravid, against RCB, fought a lone battle and the team doomed to its second straight loss. Learning from this loss and taking strength from the previous matches, Royals are expected to turn things around with a collective show from Owais Shah, Brad Hodge and Ajinkya Rahane on the one hand and Dravid, Menaria and Goswami on the other. These six batsmen, so far, have scored at a strike rate of more than 100.00 and one flop display does not stain their ability. Brad Hogg and Kevon Cooper, the two most economic RR bowlers, have to mend their bowling a bit. Delhi Daredevils is a top team, full of powerful and big hitters, so the line and length of the deliveries will have to be tighter and more disciplined than before. Missing out last time, Ankeet Chavan can make a comeback, for his contribution earlier will give him an upper hand over Chandila. But given a batting pitch at Kotla, Dravid might decide to bank on teams batting strength. In this case Menaria and Binny both may be in the playing XI, with four main bowlers Hogg, Cooper, Trivedi and P.Singh/ A. Singh. A daunting task ahead, batsmen will have to stand tall so as to ease some pressure on their bowlers.
Resting comfortably on top of the table with twelve points, the Daredevils have less to worry about. In both the departments, batting and bowling alike, they have impressed. Virendra Sehwag and Pieterson with fearsome batting look unstoppable. Pietersons second best batting average of 88.00 and Sehwags second best strike rate of 158.46 make them the most potent force. With Jayawardene and Ross Taylor to accompany them, DDs juggernaut will be tough to stop. Royals will expend most of its check these four. Pace trio Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel and Irfan Pathan has been above par. They have bowled at an economy of not more than 7.50; have bowled with precision and hostility. Left arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem continues to impress with his consistency. Bowling at an economy of 6.34 in eight matches, he has filled the spinners slot not like a rookie but like a specialist who knows the art of spin quite well.
PLAYERS WHO SHOULD STEAL THE THUNDER
CLASSIC CAPTAINS: Rahul Dravid and Virendra Sehwag are two totally different personalities but both as captains have led their teams from the front. Dravid with a strike rate of 114.56 and Sehwag 158.46 will be aiming to ascend further.
MARAUDING MIDDLE ORDER: Ross Taylor and Owais Shah are ones to look at. Taylor has not yet got much time to spend on the crease, but so far his strike rate is 111.11, which shows that the Kiwi is in form and is waiting for a chance to exploit. While Shah has been impeccable with his calm and innovative batting, with his stellar performances in the middle order he has scored at a strike rate of 147.08 has uplifted Royals more than once.
Pitch at Feroz Shah Kotla is a flat track. Runs will be flow in a torrent. Providing little help to the bowlers, batsmen will make merry on this twenty two yards long strip. Team winning the toss will most likely bat first and will try put up a total in excess of 185.
FORM FACTOR (most recent match
Rajasthan Royals: LLWWL
Delhi Daredevils: WWLWW