Delhi Capitals Recent Form
Delhi were in danger of spoiling their winning start by going on a bad run and being under real pressure to make the Playoffs.
Had they lost to Punjab on Wednesday, they’d be feeling like they’d need to win about 75% of their games till the end of the season to still have a chance.
So it’s a good thing they came up trumps, also significantly improving their net run rate.
Batting first, Punjab produced some really poor batting and had to endure some really good Delhi bowling to post just 115.
All of Kuldeep Yadav, Axar Patel, Khaleel Ahmed and Lalit Yadav claimed two wickets and it was Kuldeep who walked away with the man-of-the-match award, though in truth any of those four could have got it.
As could David Warner.
True that he was under no pressure with such a low total to tackle but he looked in fine touch in making light work of that total. Warner smashed 60 off 30, Prithvi Shaw got 41 off 20 and that was that.
They’re now into sixth with three wins from six and will be one of several teams on a similar number of points looking to make the Playoffs.
Mitch Marsh missed the game as expected with Covid which would normally have meant Tim Seifert coming in for him. Except Seifert also got Covid!
So in the end they only played three overseas players (Warner, Powell and Rahman) meaning Anrich Nortje continues to be given more time to not only be physically fit but ‘bowling fit’ after his ill-fated match when he was clearly not ready to go.
Given Marsh’s symptoms were pretty bad, he’s very unlikely to recover in time for this one.
So we may get a repeat of that XI with just three overseas players.
Not that that would be a bad thing given how well they played on Wednesday.
Player to Watch: Kuldeep Yadav
Prior to the start of the 2022 IPL, it had been a tough two years for Yadav.
He was dropped halfway through the 2020 season by KKR and in 2021 he didn’t play at all as a result of injury.
But the break from the game was obviously beneficial to him because he’s been in fantastic form for Delhi this year, who bought him at the Mega Auction.
He has an excellent 13 wickets in just six games, which is more than anyone else in the side, and he’s been going at 7.85, which is good.
What’s been really impressive is his wicket-taking consistency. He took at least a wicket in all his games so far and took two or more in four of them.
There’s serious competition in the spinners’ role(s) for India at the World Cup but he’ll believe he can be on that plane.
Delhi’s Likely XI
Warner, Shaw, Pant, Khan, Powell, Yadav, Thakur, Patel, Kuldeep, Rahmann, Ahmed.
Rajasthan Royals’ Recent Form
The Royals are looking like real IPL contenders this year.
Monday’s win over Kolkata showed a different side to them and once again they came up trumps.
Batting first, it was another masterclass from Jos Buttler, who notched his second century of the season to edge further ahead in the battle for the Orange Cap.
He’s now on 375 runs, 110 clear of second-placed KL Rahul and also has a game in hand on him and the player in third place, Shreyas Iyer. Meaning Buttler is now just 1.4 with Betway to hold into the Orange Cap.
In a fascinating game, KKR were actually in control for much of the chase despite the high required run rate.
The Royals can thank Yuzvendra Chahal for not allowing Kolkata to get over the line.
His brilliant 5-40, earning him the man of the match award over Buttler, turned the game on its head and included the key dismissals of the well-set Shreyas Iyer and dangerman Pat Cummins, who was out for a golden duck.
That was part of Chahal’s hat-trick, the 21st in the history of the IPL, and despite a late scare with Umesh Yadav hitting a few sixes, they held on.
Chahal, by the way, is the Purple Cap holder by some distance now with 17 from six games.
So they’re now third, with a game in hand on RCB, and closing in on a Top 2 finish.
The one and only concern is they’re a bit over-reliant on Buttler’s runs. Will they still win games if he’s not firing?
In an interesting move last time out,they swapped batsman Rassie van der Dussen for pace bowler Obed McCoy.
McCoy had a decent game in that he took two wickets in the last over to close out the game but was a little expensive, albeit in a high-scoring match.
They were probably right to make the change in the first place because they have enough batters.
But as we said above, if Buttler doesn’t come off they may wish they had the calm van der Dussen in their line-up, but it’s a decision they’re going to have to make and accept if it goes wrong.
Last time out we were critical of Shimron Hetmyer’s poor fitness but he made another important contribution with 26 off 13, vital in the context of a high-scoring game.
If he keeps coming up with these crucial cameos every game, he’s going to keep his place.
Player to Watch: Ravi Ashwin
The Royals paid big money to recruit veteran off-spinner Ashwin and will have been a little bit concerned about some of his performances.
In four of his six games so far, he’s failed to take a single wicket.
But that’s somewhat missing the point. Not all bowlers are there just to take wickets and Ashwin’s economy rate has been good throughout at 7.54.
And Ashwin can be one for the big moments.
He bowled the incredibly dangerous Andre Russell for a golden duck in that last game and if he hadn’t, the game may have turned out very differently.
The Royals will be hoping he takes a few more wickets and comes up with some runs as well but if that economy rate stays low, he’ll be doing his job.
Royals’ Likely XI
Buttler, Padikkal, Samson, Nair, Hetmyer, Parag, Ashwin, McCoy, Krishna, Chahal.
Venue & conditions
It was at the Wankhede Stadium that RCB posted 189/5, too good for Dellhi, on Saturday evening.
A couple of weeks ago, Rajasthan scored 165/5 to beat Lucknow by three runs and before that RCB chased Rajasthan’s 170 with an over to spare.
But before that, we also had a couple of low scores including Punjab getting just 137 against KKR and the 158 by Lucknow against Gujarat in one of the first matches.
So first innings scores have been pretty inconsistent but unlike the other venues, 200 looks extremely hard to get here batting first.
There’s also less of a toss boas here so the skipper losing the toss won’t be too unhappy, even if it means batting first.
170 looks to be the par score and if it’s around that mark, it’s anyone’s game.