The last time Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Capitals met, there was talk about both teams scoring over 200 runs in their innings, as they were facing off in Sharjah. However, the conditions in Sharjah changed and the pitch had some grip. Neither team went past 200. Instead, batting got quite difficult. There was raw pace on both sides with Archer, Aaron & Tyagi bowling for the Royals and Rabada & Nortje bowling for the Capitals. It was our batting that let us down in that game though and as both teams enter the second half of the league stage, there is much more at stake.
Delhi Capitals are sitting pretty at number 2 on the points table with 10 points. Rajasthan Royals on the other hand, are at number 6, with six points next to their name. The two teams are coming off contrasting results in their previous games. The Capitals winning streak was broken by a strong MI team, while Rajasthan Royals put an end to their 4-match losing streak with another jaw-dropping chase against SRH.
The Royals thinktank turned back towards some of the players who had been part of the first few teams that took the field in the tournament and it proved to be a good move. Riyan Parag found some form, while Uthappa got some time at the crease, finding the middle of his bat more often than he did previously. Unadkat made the most of a sticky wicket, by bringing his variations into play, bowling his most economical spell this season. The combination finally seems to come together for us, with Stokes in the mix as well. He just bowled the one over against SRH, but we can expect him to bowl a few more against DC, now that he’s had a few more outings in training.
The Capitals’ injury list has an addition. After Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma has been ruled out of the IPL due to injury. Rishabh Pant may not make it back into the Playing XI either. The changes seem to have unsettled DC when they faced MI in Abu Dhabi. The man who took some fine catches against us in Sharjah, Shimron Hetmyer had to make way for wicket-keeper, Alex Carey. DC also had to bring in former Royals batsman and skipper, Ajinkya Rahane in the team. He has faced most of our bowlers in the past and taking his wicket will be quite important to break into the DC middle-order. The likes of Shaw & Dhawan will be tested once again by Archer’s pace, a contest that will be riveting to watch once again.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium
Rajasthan Royals will look to carry on with the momentum they seized at the venue after beating Hyderabad. The Capitals last played here nearly 10 days ago and the pitch seems to have changed a bit since then. Batting is getting difficult and the spinners are enjoying much more grip than before.
Shreyas Gopal vs Ajinkya Rahane
After playing together for 2 years, the duo could face off in this game. Rahane is a batsman who enjoys pace on the ball, and slow spin can help in getting under his skin. Gopal who has bowled in the Powerplay and middle-overs can be the key to getting his wicket. Rahane has managed just 17 runs in 15 balls against the leggie. He has been dismissed once too.
Jofra Archer vs Alex Carey
While Jofra has had the edge over the Capitals top-order, he could prove handy against the hard-hitting keeper-batsman, Carey too. Jofra is usually saved for a few overs in the latter half of the innings. These two have faced off a few times in the Big Bash League, and Jofra has an impressive record against Carey. The Aussie strikes at a mere 113 and has lost his wicket 3 times to the Englishman. Won’t this be a finger-licking battle for Jofra!
Royals Batsmen vs DC spinners
The DC spinners have been one of the most economical in the season so far. Both Ashwin and Patel have done a good job of stifling the runs in the middle overs. They extract bounce as well due to their heights. But, it’s imperative to attack one of them to keep the score-board ticking at a good pace. Which of the two will the Royas batsmen look to milk and attack once in a while?
With momentum on their side, the Royals are a dangerous side. They couldn’t have asked for a better day to face the Capitals, who lost their previous game and will be forced to stick to a combination that is perhaps not their first choice. The bowling has been commendable and the fielding is nearing perfection too. In the last meeting against DC, we took some sharp catches, and effected 2 run outs to leave their batting order in disarray. We would want nothing less this time around. If we were to believe in the law of averages, the top order is definitely due some runs now. We are approaching the business end, and hopefully the top order’s bad days have gone by. We can’t wait to climb the points table and get 8 points under our belt. Halla Bol!