Shane Watson (left) has led Rajasthan Royals impressively in his first season as captain © IANS
By R Vishal
With the competition for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 play-off spots heating up, Rajasthan Royals look to stay in the hunt in what has been a pretty good start in Shane Watson’s career when they take on Delhi Daredevils at Ahmedabad on May 15. After battling hard in their last encounter against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), Rajasthan would have been gutted by their tame surrender in James Faulkner’s last over.
IPL 7’s whipping boys so far, Delhi Daredevils will find themselves against yet another inspired and motivated outfit waiting to pounce and take full points off them. With Chennai and Kings XI Punjab leaving the rest far behind in the quest for the battle for the top spot, Rajasthan must continue to build on the momentum that they have created so far.
Delhi, on the other hand, continue to look for an elusive victory that would rejuvenate their season. Rajasthan captain Watson’s telling displays of late with the bat and ball have inspired his young team, who continue to play their exciting brand of cricket. Along with Watson, the other Australians Faulkner and Steven Smith have been equally impressive as epitomised by their extraordinary smash-and-grab victory against Bangalore.
Kevin Pietersen’s Delhi lie at the bottom of the table and it is largely due to their bowling, which does not have one noteworthy display so far. Yuvraj Singh’s magnificent assault ought to have left some scars and the onus lies on Pietersen and the other top-order batsmen to lift the spirits in the camp.
One of the brightest spots for Delhi so far has been Kedhar Jadhav’s consistent displays with the bat down the order. JP Duminy has been their best player with bat and ball. Against a Rajasthan side that is going to come hard, Delhi may have to wait longer for their third win in IPL 7.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Watson (c), AjinkyaRahane, Brad Hodge, Sanju Samson, Stuart Binny, AnkushBains, James Faulkner, PravinTambe, Kevon Cooper, Unmukt Chand, Steven Smith, Ben Cutting, Deepak Hooda, Iqbal Abdullah, Karun Nair, Vikramjeet Malik, Abhishek Nayar, Dhawal Kulkarni, Kane Richardson, DishantYagnik (wk), Tim Southee, Rahul Tewatia, Ankit Sharma, Amit Mishra.
Delhi Daredevils: Kevin Pietersen (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), JP Duminy, Ross Taylor, Mayank Agarwal, Murali Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, SaurabhTiwary, Milind Kumar, Jimmy Neesham, Mohammed Shami, JaydevUnadkat, ShahbazNadeem, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Shukla, Wayne Parnell, HS Sharath, LaxiRatan Shukla, KedarJadhav, SiddharthKaul, Rahul Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT
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(R Vishal is a journalist and alumni of Asian College of Journalism. He can be followed on Twitter @vishhell)