IPl 2013: Rajasthan Royals aim to inch closer towards playoffs with win over Delhi Daredevils

Rajasthan Royals are tied with RCB, Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers, all of them having 14 points from 11 games © IANS

By Sabi Hussain

Jaipur: May 6, 2013
Rajasthan Royals will look to close in on a play-off berth and consolidate their position in the points table when they take on a struggling Delhi Daredevils in the Indian Premier League at Jaipur on Tuesday.

Daredevils were routed by Sunrisers Hyderabad by six wickets in their previous encounter as their big-ticket stars once again failed to fire with the bat and folded up for a pathetic 80 runs, the second lowest total of the season after CSK’s 79 against Mumbai Indians.

Daredevils were living dangerously over the past few weeks with a couple of victories just about keeping their campaign alive in the tournament. But their chances are as good as over after they dished out yet another horrendous batting display.

Virender Sehwag, Mahela Jayawardene and David Warner went out cheaply against Hyderabad but what was more surprising to watch was their atrocious shot selection.

Daredevils had included two overseas all-rounders, Johan Botha and Jeevan Mendis, into their playing XI against Sunrisers to turn around their ebbing fortunes but the move did not produce the desired result.

Only four of the Delhi batsmen managed to touch the double-digit mark in what can only be described as a meek surrender.

Considering there is nothing to lose in the matches ahead with just six points from 11 matches, the Daredevils will look to play party poopers and upset the applecart of the Royals.

The last time the two sides met on April 6 at the Feroze Shah Kotla stadium, Kevon Cooper had bowled a sensational final over, picking up two crucial wickets, to hand Rajasthan a thrilling five-run win over the hosts.
Revenge would be on top of Daredevils’ agenda but given their poor run in the competition and Royals ‘home’ record — six wins out of six games — the script is most likely to remain the same for the hosts.

Royals, high on confidence after chasing down a challenging 179-run target against a hapless Pune Warriors India on Sunday night, will leave no stone unturned to win this crucial game and make a confident surge towards a play-off berth.

After Daredevils, Royals will have one more game to play at home on May 12 and going by their poor away record — four losses out of five games — they won’t want to leave their fortunes hanging in balance with run-rates coming into play.

They would like to settle the issue at ‘Fort SMS’ which hasn’t been breached as yet.

Royals are tied with RCB, Mumbai Indians and Sunrisers, all of them having 14 points from 11 games.

The way their inspirational captain Rahul Dravid led from the front against Pune Warriors with a classy half-century, has certainly helped the hosts settle their opening combination.

In the company of Ajinkya Rahane, he added 98 runs for the opening-wicket partnership.

Rahane, looking to prove a point to the national selectors after getting a snub for the Champions Trophy next month, responded with an equally impressive 48-ball 67 to take his side closer to the Pune target.

Shane Watson has provided stability to the batting line-up while youngsters, Sanju Samson and Stuart Binny, have also justified their selections with useful contributions.
Binny’s unbeaten 13-ball 32 cameo in the end sealed the issue in his team’s favour against Pune on Sunday night.

Royals’ bowlers were plundered for lot of runs by Pune batsmen but James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Siddharth Trivedi and Ajit Chandila have the ability to find their rhythm back and quickly adjust to the conditions.

Dravid would also like to see them come good against a fragile Delhi batting line-up. It would be interesting to see whether temperamental pacer S Sreesanth gets a chance against the DD.