Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir © AFP
Ajinkya Rahane (left) and Gautam Gambhir © AFP

Rajasthan return home to Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur for an IPL match after five years. They will hope for the venue to be the fortress it used to be. Rajasthan take on Delhi in Match 6 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Wednesday. The Ajinkya Rahane-led Rajasthan are already missing Steven Smith: they received a sound pounding in their opening match in IPL 2018, against Hyderabad, where their batting let them down. Gautam Gambhir’s Delhi, in contrast, put up a better show against Punjab but could not register a win. Both teams will look to erase memories of their respective openers.

Rajasthan have as many as five opening options in their top six in this , and somewhere that hurt in the Hyderabad match. Rahul Tripathi, who did fantastically as an opener in the last season, could be moved back to the top. However, that will leave a question mark on Rahane’s batting position, who too can be best utilised at the top. D’Arcy Short is the only opener assured of this slot.

Rajasthan spent INR 12.5 crores on Ben Stokes and INR 11.5 crores on Jaydev Unadkat in the 2018 IPL auction. Both had forgettable outings in Rajasthan’s first IPL match this season. They will hope their expensive buys to prove their value for money.

Meanwhile, Delhi will be boosted by Glenn Maxwell’s return. Maxwell was missed in the first game in 2018 IPL. Delhi’s batting is not a major concern but their bowling was blown away in the first game by Punjab courtesy KL Rahul’s fifty, the fastest in IPL history. That is an area where Gambhir and co. will look to be consistent. They will look forward to exploit Rajasthan’s lack of confidence with the bat.

Likely 11s:

Rajasthan: D’Arcy Short, Rahul Tripathi, Ajinkya Rahane (c), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler (wk), Stuart Binny/K Gowtham, Shreyas Gopal, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jaydev Unadkat, Ben Laughlin

Delhi: Gautam Gambhir (c), Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Vijay Shankar, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult, Mohammed Shami

Predictions

Odds are heavily stacked against Delhi given past data. Rajasthan have a win percentage of almost 70 at Jaipur. Delhi have only won 1 of their 4 matches against Rajasthan here. Head-to-head, Rajasthan have won 10 of their 16 matches against Delhi. However, all that is distant past: the sides have not played each other since 2015. Despite the odds, Delhi wear a more balanced look to their side and look clear favourites for this contest.