Rajasthan Royals have had swinging fortunes in this season’s Dream11 IPL. We started well with two wins and were even at the top of the points table for a couple of days. However, three losses later, we find ourselves lurking at 7th position. A hat-trick of losses is not something we would have liked to have suffered, but it’s our fighting spirit, which has been akin to the Royals in previous seasons, that needs to come to the fore as we run into a well-balanced Delhi Capitals side. The good news is, we return to Sharjah, a venue where we won our first two matches.
The Rajasthan Royals top order will have to assume more responsibility after throwing away their wickets in the last three matches. Jos Buttler rightly pointed out in the post-match press conference after our game against MI that if we lost three wickets in the Powerplay, it’s very difficult to come back from there. Perhaps shot selection is something senior statesmen, Smith & Samson will look to apply when they walk out against the formidable pace of Anrich Nortje & Kagiso Rabada. The Royals edge out Delhi on their head-to-head record, having won 11 of the 20 games they’ve played so far. However, last year, we couldn’t manage to beat the Capitals, who went on to qualify for the Playoffs too.
Delhi have lost just one game in this season, having played 5 matches. A win will take them back to the top of the points table. Their top and middle order have been firing to their full potential, while the bowlers have been quite incisive too. There’s sheer pace from the South Africa quicks and some guile by the Indian spinners, Ashwin & Axar Patel. However, it will still be a test for their bowlers as the ground is pretty small.
200 has been the norm in Sharjah and we could be in for yet another massive run-athon. Batsmen will look to time the ball rather than smash the leather off it and there is no dearth of batsmen on either side who can hit sixes with proper cricketing shots. The last time we played in Sharjah, we shored up our bowling attack. It will be interesting to see what combination Smith goes with for this game.
Sharjah Cricket Stadium
All but one innings saw scores of over 200 in Sharjah this season. They call it a bowlers’ graveyard and rightly so. The average total here is well over 200 for this season, while it is a shy over 180 since 2018. Delhi beat KKR when they played their solitary game at this venue a few days ago, while we beat CSK & KXIP handsomely. Expect many balls to be lost once again on the roads of Sharjah during the match.
Buttler vs Ashwin
Well, let’s just bury the incident from last year. The battle between bat and ball between these two itself can be quite exciting. Buttler smashed the MI spinners, as he got back to form in our previous match. Ashwin tried to innovate with his bowling, while Buttler has his own tricks with the bat. If Buttler can survive the initial pace burst by DC, this battle could be the top conversation on social media platforms & in the commentary boxes too.
Battle of the Shreyas-es
Shreyas Gopal has shown glimpses of getting back to full form. He will be up against an in-form Shreyas Iyer, who has been troubled by Gopal in the past. Our leggie has gotten the better of Iyer twice in T20s and has conceded just 17 runs off the 14 balls he has bowled to the DC skipper.
Yashasvi Jaiswal vs Raw Pace
Everyone knows the amount of talent Yashasvi Jaiswal possesses. Unfortunately for the youngster, he hasn’t got starts in the two games he has played so far. He will be duly tested by the sharp pace of Nortje and Rabada if he opens the batting, but if he uses the right angles, the pace could be his friend on this short ground. It will be amazing to watch this southpaw get some form behind him against one of the best bowling attacks in this IPL season.
The Rajasthan Royals squad went back to the drawing board to erase some chinks in their armour after their last loss. The intensity in training has been at its peak and the boys want to get back to winning ways at the earliest. Smith is a shrewd skipper and knows how to get the best out of his resources. If there ever was a time to find a win, it’s in this game, at a ground where we’ve had success. Bring it on!