Faced with an imminent danger of losing the race to the Indian Premier League (IPL)play-offs, bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils now face an uphill task of treating each game as a virtual knock-out as they prepare to host an inconsistent Rajasthan Royals here on Wednesday.
After the resignation of Gautam Gambhir, the struggling Daredevils, under new skipper Shreyas Iyer received a ray of hope when he blasted a 40-ball 93 to power Delhi to a 55-run win over Kolkata Knight Riders at the Ferozshah Kotla here.
But Monday’s 13-run loss to Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Pune almost dashed all hopes of a comeback as Delhi succumbed to their sixth loss in eight games and now need to win all their remaining matches to salvage any hopes of staying alive in the tournament.
In the batting department, Iyer and stumper Rishabh Pant have done the bulk of the scoring for Delhi, amassing 306 and 257 runs respectively so far and the onus would be on the duo to lead the batting unit on Wednesday.
Delhi will also hope for a repeat of the brilliant opening platform, they got against KKR from young Prithvi Shaw and Colin Munro besides expecting Australian power-hitter Glenn Maxwell for some fireworks lower down the order.
On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals have experienced a topsy-turvy campaign and find themselves on fifth in the table with six points from seven matches.
With the IPL, entering its business end, skipper Ajinkya Rahane will expect his team to get their act together and aim for consistency.
In their previous match, Rajasthan fell short of Sunrisers Hyderabad’s modest target of 152 by 11 runs. It was despite Rahane scoring a 65 and young Snaju Samson hitting a 40 as they didn’t get support from other batsman.
Rahane and Samson have been their best batsmen this season but inconsistent run of Ben Stokes and Jos Butler has affected their performance this season.
Among the bowlers, young seamer Jofra Archer have done well to claim six wickets in the two matches that he has played so far while this IPL’s costliest buy Jaydev Unadkat have also been amongst the wickets.
But RR’s main concern will be the form of their spinners — Shreyas Gopal and K. Gowtham — who have so far failed to hunt in pairs.
Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Rishabh Pant (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett, Junior Dala.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Jofra Archer, Stuart Binny, Aryaman Birla, Jos Buttler, Dushmantha Chameera, Prashant Chopra, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), Dhawal Kulkarni, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Sudhesan Midhun, Sanju Samson, Jatin Saxena, D’Arcy Short, Ish Sodhi, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jaydev Unadkat.