Guwahati: Battered and bruised by raw pace in back-to-back matches, Delhi Capitals‘ batting unit is likely to find some breathing space on a featherbed when the side takes on Rajasthan Royals in an afternoon IPL match, here on Saturday.
Mark Wood and Alzarri Joseph have scarred the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan in DC’s line-up in the first two games.
And when these talented but low on confidence willow wielders face an attack comprising Trent Boult, KM Asif and Jason Holder, they would have to negotiate speed in mid 130 kmph, which is right up their alley.
However, the guile and artistry of Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal on a hot late afternoon and early evening in Guwahati won’t be a pleasant proposition either.
But the pattern of scores at the Barsapara Stadium suggests that batters get value for their shots and one can plonk his front-foot and hit through the line.
Another aspect that might give some relief to DC could be the absence of dangerous Jos Buttler, who has got stitches on the little finger of his left hand after sustaining a bruise while taking a catch in the last game.
The bruised area with stitches is likely to remain sore and soft and it will be difficult to field even though batting with extra padding inside the gloves remain an option. In case Buttler is unable to play, Joe Root could be an option.
DC, on paper, despite Rishabh Pant’s absence, looked good but frailties of Shaw and Sarfaraz while facing international bowlers, who are 10 miles quicker than their Indian counterparts, has created a lot of problems, which the side wouldn’t have initially comprehended.
There hasn’t been too many silver-linings for DC in the two defeats so far and the main drawback of the team is poor bench-strength in terms of Indian talent, which doesn’t inspire confidence.
Even if the coaching staff wants to try other options in place of Sarfaraz, DC, in its Indian batting roster only has Yash Dhull, Ripal Patel and Lalit Yadav to fall back upon and none of them are players who would perhaps score at a strike-rate of 150.
At Guwahati, any total less than 190 will be easy pickings for the team chasing but afternoon match will certainly negate the dew factor to some extent unlike the earlier game when Punjab Kings’ bowlers were finding it difficult to grip the ball seam up.
For Rajasthan Royals, Yashasvi Jaiswal and skipper Sanju Samson have been in good nick in the first two games and would hope to pose challenge for the likes of Anrich Nortje, Khaleel Ahmed and Kuldeep Yadav.
The two aspects in DC’s strategy that will be looked upon with keen interest will be usage of ‘Impact Player’ and Axar Patel’s utility as a bowler with southpaws — Jaiswal and Shimron Hetmyer batting in top six.
In case of ‘Impact Player’, Aman Hakim Khan has been used in the first two games and DC coach Ricky Ponting does speak highly of the Mumbai youngster. But in both the matches, there hasn’t been much on display.
In case of Axar, skipper David Warner is wary of giving him the ball when left-handers are at the crease due to his poor match-ups in the past.
While Rovman Powell is a big hitter, he has issues while tackling spinners, so there is every chance that Rilee Rossouw will continue.
However RR, despite losing their earlier match, remains favourite to win this one.
Delhi Capitals: David Warner (captain), Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Sarfaraz Khan, Aman Hakim Khan, Abhishek Porel (wk), Axar Patel, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Rovman Powell, Rilee Rossouw, Anrich Nortje, Mustafizur Rahaman, Chetan Sakariya, Mukesh Kumar, Phil Salt, Lungi Ngidi, Praveen Dubey, Lalit Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vicky Ostwal, Ishant Sharma, Manish Pandey, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Yash Dhull.
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Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (captain), Jos Buttler (vc), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Devdutt Padikkal, Riyan Parag, Shimron Hetmyer, Jason Holder, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin, KM Asif, Trent Boult, Dhruv Jurel, Kunal Singh Rathore, Navdeep Saini, Kuldeep Sen, Kuldip Yadav, Joe Root, Donovan Ferreira, KC Cariappa, Abdul Basith, Obed McCoy, Akash Vasisth, Sandeep Sharma, Adam Zampa, Murugan Ashwin.
Match Starts at 3:30 pm.
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