DC vs RR: Tie of openers & spinners
Delhi Capitals will no doubt be confident after their thumping nine-wicket win over Punjab Kings in their last game.
But only confidence will not work for them on Friday, when they take on Rajasthan Royals at the Wankhede in Mumbai. The Royals, with four wins from six matches, have been one of the better teams this IPL.
The similarity between Delhi and the Royals lie in their powerful opening batters and in their quality spin attack. While Delhi have the most destructive opening pair of this edition in David Warner and Prithvi Shaw, Royals boast of an almost unstoppable Jos Buttler. Both the teams count on their good starts to have an edge over their rivals.
But to the Royals’ advantage, they have a batting line-up that is not only capable of providing explosive starts, but they can also finish off their innings with a flourish. The man who helps them in doing so is Shimron Hetmyer, who has batted with a strike rate of 179.83 in IPL 2022. There’s also Sanju Samson, their captain, who, unlike in previous editions, has shown consistency with the bat.
Delhi have no such assurance down the order once their openers depart. Captain Rishabh Pant hasn’t been at his adventurous best and players like Rovman Powell and Lalit Yadav have failed to get going.
So if the Royals get to bat first and impose a tall target on Delhi, one wonders if Delhi, who are battling Covid-19 scare in their camp, can stand up to the pressure of a high required run rate. All four wins of the Royals have come batting first.
Royals also hold sway over Delhi in terms of bowling. While leg-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal has been troubling sides with his tricks (including a hat-trick), they have proven performers in Trent Boult, Ravichandran Ashwin and Prasidh Krishna to keep opposition batters in check.
Delhi will look up to chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav once again and expect their left-arm quicks — Khaleel Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman — to rein in the Royals. Delhi also have Axar Patel to give Kuldeep company.
A win on Friday can also take Royals to the top of the points table.