On eight and six points respectively from six matches, an in-form Rajasthan Royals meet a confident Delhi Capitals in a clash of power-play slayers in match 34 of IPL 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium on Friday.
Coming into this match which was previously to be held at MCA Stadium in Pune till six Covid-19 cases in the Delhi camp forced a venue change, both Delhi and Rajasthan won their last matches at the Brabourne Stadium.
A win for Rajasthan could help them dislodge Gujarat Titans from the top of the table while a win for Delhi will take them into the upper half of the points tally provided their superior net run rate doesn’t take a huge hit.
While the Rishabh Pant-led side produced an all-round show to thrash Punjab Kings by nine wickets, Rajasthan banked on Jos Buttler’s century and Yuzvendra Chahal’s five-fer, including a hat-trick, to upstage Kolkata Knight Riders by seven runs in a high-scoring thriller.
All four wins of Rajasthan in IPL 2022 have come by batting first, completely going against the ‘win toss and chase total’ formula. With the bat, Buttler has been a major contributor, scoring centuries in two victories and is currently the leading run-scorer of the tournament with 375 runs coming at an average of 75.00 and strike rate of 156.90.
Another chief contributor with the bat has been Shimron Hetmyer, who’s stepped up to do the finishing job with aplomb, scoring 223 runs at an average of 74.33 and strike-rate of 179.83. But Rajasthan know that they will need runs from batters beyond Buttler and Hetmyer, including captain Sanju Samson, to get the big runs.
With the ball, Chahal being the leading wicket-taker with 17 wickets and Ravichandran Ashwin keeping the scoring rate tight from the other end despite taking just two wickets, has helped Rajasthan a lot. With Obed McCoy impressing at the end against Kolkata, it means that Rajasthan can put Trent Boult for new-ball duties in the first half of the innings on the bounce.
On the other hand, Delhi showed incredible mental toughness to dish out impressive shows with bat and ball to end up on the winning side against Punjab. In Prithvi Shaw and David Warner, Delhi have the most dynamic opening pair in the tournament.
While Shaw has scored 217 runs in six matches at an average of 36.17 and strike rate of 170.86, Warner has notched up three fifties on the trot in amassing 191 runs in four matches at an average of 63.67 and strike rate of 152.80.
But what would concern Delhi would be the batting which comes after Shaw and Warner. Captain Rishabh Pant has played some cameos but hasn’t been consistent with his stroke-play. Rovman Powell, their designated power-hitter, has scored just 31 runs in the tournament. Sarfaraz Khan needs to be given a consistent run to showcase his variety of shots.
In the bowling department, Delhi have been spot-on. Kuldeep Yadav has gained back his confidence and best self in Delhi, picking 13 wickets in six matches at an average of 14.30 and an economy rate of 7.85. In all of Delhi’s wins, Kuldeep has picked the ‘Player of the Match’ award, boosting his confidence and game in a fresh IPL franchise setup.
Lalit Yadav (four wickets) and Axar Patel (three wickets) have been supporting Kuldeep well with tight displays. In the pace department, lefties are ruling for Delhi as Khaleel Ahmed (10 wickets) and Mustafizur Rahman (four wickets) have applied the brakes on the opposition batters.
The match between Delhi and Rajasthan could well come down to who maximises the power-play phase apart from the Kuldeep-Chahal and Buttler-Warner duels. In the tournament, Delhi have the best run-rate in power-play with the bat at 9.63 while Rajasthan are third with 8.61. With the ball, Rajasthan have the best economy rate in the powerplay with 6.72 while Delhi are fourth-best with 7.63.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c), Devdutt Padikkal, Jos Buttler (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Trent Boult, Prasidh Krishna, Yuzvendra Chahal, Kuldeep Sen, Rassie Van der Dussen, James Neesham, Daryl Mitchell, Karun Nair, Obed McCoy, Navdeep Saini, Tejas Baroka, Anunay Singh, KC Cariappa, Shubham Garhwal, Dhruv Jurel and Kuldip Yadav.
Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (C & wk), David Warner, Prithvi Shaw, Rovman Powell, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Mustafizur Rahman, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Sarfaraz Khan, Ashwin Hebbar, Mandeep Singh, Anrich Nortje, Chetan Sakariya, Lungi Ngidi, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Mitchell Marsh, Tim Seifert, Pravin Dubey, Ripal Patel, Vicky Ostwal, Yash Dhull and KS Bharat.