IPL 2013 Preview: Rajasthan Royals seek to keep citadel intact against Delhi Daredevils

Rajasthan Royals (above)  have the measure of the conditions at Jaipur and the red-hot form of the team makes the task for Delhi doubly dangerous © IANS

By Sarang Bhalerao

Jaipur: May 6, 2013

Rajasthan Royals have not lost a single game at Sawai Mansingh Stadium in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2013. They will want to keep their citadel intact when they host Delhi Daredevils on Tuesday.

Royals have the measure of the conditions at Jaipur and the red-hot form of the team makes the task for Delhi doubly dangerous. Delhi are now playing for their pride after being knocked out of the playoff contention. Delhi’s batting unit has failed to click on a consistent basis. The top-order has hardly been in form. Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag have the ability to win games single-handedly. David Warner has been Daredevils’ batting mainstay. But he has not got the support from the other batsmen.

Delhi’s bowling, like batting, has not really been upto the mark. Morne Morkel has struggled to make an impact. This has hurt Delhi big time. Irfan Pathan has been impressive with the new ball. Umesh Yadav has worked up good pace and looks like picking up wickets on a regular basis. Shahbaz Nadeem, the spinning option has bowled well in the middle overs. The fifth bowling option keeps on varying. That place is up for grabs even now. Delhi have tended to use Johan Botha, Andre Russell, Roelof van der Merwe in that position.

Rajasthan, on the other hand, have been professional right throughout the competition. They have lot less to worry about compared to their counterparts. Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane scored fifties against Pune Warriors on Sunday. The feature of Dravid’s batting was how he timed and placed the ball with precision. Rahane too played a useful hand in chasing down 179. Rajasthan has some of the gruesome hitters batting in the middle-order. Shane Watson at No.3, Brad Hodge at No.4 and Stuart Binny at No.5.

On Sunday, Binny’s cameo proved to be the turning point in the game. The all-rounder’s ability to unleash big hits at crucial stages is an asset for the Royals.

Sanju Samson, the 18-year-old sensation too has shown signs of greatness. He might bat up in the order depending on the situation.

Rajasthan bowling took a bit of pounding against Pune. But in James Faulkner they have a thinking bowler. Siddharth Trivedi’s change of pace is a confounding proposition for the batsman. Ajit Chandila bowling at the opening batsman with his subtle variation makes it an interesting spectacle.

On current form Rajasthan look like steamrolling the Daredevils. But it would be too presumptious to write Delhi off who have nothing to lose. They might just play their best cricket with no pressure of qualifying for the playoffs now.

Teams:

Rajasthan Royals (Probable): Shane Watson, Ajinkya Rahane, Rahul Dravid (c), Sanju Samson (wk), Brad Hodge, Kevon Cooper, James Faulkner, Stuart Binny, Siddharth Trivedi, Ajit Chandila, S Sreesanth.

Delhi Daredevils (Probable): Mahale Jayawardene (c), Virender Sehwag, Unmukt Chand, David Warner, Johan Botha, Kedar Jadhav, Shabaaz Nadeem, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Ashish Nehra.

Time: 16:00 local (10:30 GMT)

(Sarang Bhalerao hails from a family of doctors, but did his engineering. He then dumped a career in IT with Infosys to follow his heart and passion and became a writer with CricketCountry. A voracious reader, Sarang aspires to beat Google with his knowledge of the game! You can follow him on Twitter here)