Ahmedabad: An out-of-sorts Delhi Daredevils will be aiming to redeem some pride while Rajasthan Royals would look to consolidate their top-four spot in the points table when the two teams clash in an Indian Premier League match, in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
After losing all five matches since the tournament returned to India to be at the bottom of the heap, Delhi now can only play the party-poopers for teams that are fighting hard to be in the play-offs contention. Rajasthan are placed third in the table with 12 points but they cannot take their place in the top-four for granted as an interesting battle is on to qualify for the knockouts. Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders' challenge is far from over, hence Rajasthan would look to strengthen their position by defeating struggling Daredevils.
Rajasthan is one team in which different match winners have emerged consistently. Unheralded players have made solid contributions and the trend is likely to continue. It will be interesting to see if skipper Shane Watson keeps the opening slot with him after a successful experiment in the last match against Chennai Super Kings.
Ankit Sharma too was impressive yesterday against CSK with both bat and ball but RR will surely think of bringing Sanju Samson back as the middle-order crumbled following a couple of quick wickets at the top. After their miraculous batting effort against RCB, the Australian duo of Steve Smith and James Faulknar will be expected to do an encore. However, Smith is capable of winning matches on his own and now is the time when he needs to make consistent contributions.
On the other side, nothing is working for Daredevils and yesterday they were at the receiving end of Yuvraj Singh's stunning return to form as well as the fury of AB de Villiers. They need to ensure that batting and bowling click together along with fielding. One factor which works for Delhi is the presence of a very calm skipper in Kevin Pietersen, who keeps encouraging his players in the tough times.
Quinton de Kock has failed to play to his potential and an injury to Pietersen has also not allowed the Englishman to be at his best. JP Duminy is one player who has always stood like a rock with his tremendous batting. There is no other option to perform and they must take a cue from RCB's Yuvraj, who has overcome a lean patch to be a match winner again.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (c), Ajinkya Rahane, James Faulkner, Stuart Binny, Sanju Samson, Brad Hodge, Steven Smith, Abhishek Nayar, Ben Cutting, Kane Richardson, Tim Southee, Unmukt Chand, Ankush Bains, Vikramjeet Malik, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra, Deepak Hooda, Rajat Bhatia, Kevon Cooper, Iqbal Abdulla, Dhawal Kulkarni, Pravin Tambe, Karun Nair, Dishant Yagnik.
Delhi Daredevils: Kevin Pietersen (C), Mayank Agarwal, N Coulter-Nile, Q de Kock, JP Duminy, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, S Kaul, Milind Kumar, Mohammed Shami, S Nadeem, J Neesham, W Parnell, HS Sharath, R Sharma, LR Shukla, R Shukla, R Taylor, Manoj Tiwary, S Tiwary, JD Unadkat, M Vijay, Kedar Yadav....