While South African pace bowler Kagiso Rabada will return to fuel Delhi Capitals’ (DC) bowling attack their opponents for Thursday’s Indian Premier League (IPL) match, Rajasthan Royals (RR), are struggling to field their top overseas players.
Jofra Archer’s chances of recovering from his shoulder injury and joining RR in the league phase this season is highly unlikely and on Tuesday, ace all-rounder Ben Stokes was ruled out for the season with a broken finger.
Stokes will stay with the team to provide support from the outside but will not be able to play, leaving a gap in the RR playing XI.
The Jaipur franchise put up a stiff fight in their first match against Punjab Kings with Sanju Samson’s century taking them to within four runs of Punjab Kings’ 221-run total.
RR may field either Liam Livingstone or David Miller in place of Stokes in the match against DC.
The Delhi Capitals, however, will be a buoyant lot. Not only are they coming back from a resounding win over Chennai Super Kings in the first match but they also have their frontline pacer Rabada is back. The Proteas fast bowler had caused a lot of damage to opposition batting lineups in the last season.
However, their another South African pacer Anrich Nortje will have to wait to join the squad as he was tested COVID-19 positive on Wednesday (April 14).
Even with a pace attack that could be described as second string, DC managed to restrict CSK to below 200 on a very good batting surface. Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan then went after the bowling, helping new captain Rishabh Pant start the season with a resounding victory.
On paper, especially with RR’s injury woes, DC look the outright favourites. However, as Sanju Samson showed the other day, in T20 cricket even one good knock can turn a match. Samson will be hoping to perform again with the bat and will also hope that Chris Morris, for whom RR shelled out a huge Rs 16.25 crore, comes good.
DC also benefited from some poor fielding from CSK players, many of who were rusty. It is unlikely they will get that kind of luxury against RR. However, they remain the favourites due to the depth in bowling and batting.
Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson, Jos Buttler (wicketkeeper), Riyan Parag, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Mahipal Lomror, Kartik Tyagi, Andrew Tye, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Robin Uthappa, Shivam Dube, Chris Morris, Mustafizur Rahman, Chetan Sakariya, KC Cariappa, Liam Livingstone, Kuldip Yadav, Akash Singh.
Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (captain/wicketkeeper), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Steve Smith, Sam Billings, Shimron Hetmyer, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Umesh Yadav, Tom Curran, Avesh Khan, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Ripal Patel, Lukman Hussain Meriwala, M Siddharth, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Chris Woakes, Vishnu Vinod (wicketkeeper), Aditya Tare (wicketkeeper)