By Sunny Kaul
New Delhi: Apr 28, 2012
Riding high on confidence after registering back-to-back wins, table toppers Delhi Daredevils would look to maintain their ascendance when they take on a dangerous Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League match on Sunday.
Led by dashing Virender Sehwag, the Daredevils have so far looked to be the most balanced side in the tournament, but the team needs to guard against complacency to stamp their authority at the top of the points table.
With six wins and two loses out of eight matches so far in the tournament, the Delhi outfit is leading the team standings with 12 points.
In their last two games, the Daredevils registered comprehensive victories over Pune Warriors and Mumbai Indians.
While the Daredevils thrashed Pune by eight wickets in an away game on Tuesday, Sehwag's men recorded a convincing 37-run win over Mumbai in their last game at home last night.
The Daredevils have been pretty consistent with both bat and ball so far in the tournament.
Sehwag is leading the side from the front with some fiery knocks at the top, while Kevin Pietersen has been a consistent run-getter for Delhi in the middle overs.
And with Mahela Jayawardene also announcing his return to form with a strokeful half century against Mumbai last night, it would take a special effort from Royals to derail Delhi's campaign.
On the batting front, the only concern for the Daredevils will be the lack of time spend by its middle-order at the centre. Kiwi import Ross Taylor hasn't got a decent hit yet, while the likes of Naman Ojha and Yogesh Nagar have so far not been required to shed much of their sweat.
The Daredevils bowlers have also complemented their batsmen well by managing to keep the oppositions in check, with wrecker-in-chief Morne Morkel, holding the pack well.
Although the Royals have looked good with the bat, their bowling department lacks the sting, with captain Rahul Dravid admitting that bowling at the death has been a problem area for the team.
The Royals will thus bank on their batsmen to seize the initiative against Sehwag's men. However, lack of runs from the middle order remains a primary concern for Dravid.
With Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah scoring consistently, the Royals boast of a formidable top-order, but the likes of Australian Brad Hodge and local talent Ashok Maneria have been inconsistent with the bat in the middle overs.
The form of wicketkeeper Shreevats Goswami is also under the scanner.
Apart from Kevon Cooper and Siddharth Trivedi, no one has looked consistent with the ball for the Royals.
While the West Indian has scalped 10 wickets from five matches so far, Trivedi has managed to keep a restrain on the scoring rate.
The team has particularly leaked runs towards the end of an innings, which might prompt Dravid to bring in Australian Shaun Tait to the mix. (PTI)
DD (probables) : Mahela Jayawardene, Virender Sehwag(c), Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor, Naman Ojha(w), Irfan Pathan, Yogesh Nagar, Morne Morkel, Ajit Agarkar, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem
RR (probables) : Rahul Dravid (c), Ajinkya Rahane, Owais Shah, Brad Hodge, Srevats Goswami (wk), Kevon Cooper, Pankaj Singh, Brad Hogg, Stuart Binny, Siddarth Trivedi, Ajit Chandela.
Time: 16:00 local (10:30 GMT)