Injuries and illness headline Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Capitals clash

While Rajasthan will miss Stokes, Delhi lose Nortje after SA pacer tests positive for Covid-19
JAIPUR: Following a frustrating four-run loss in the high-scoring opener on Monday against Punjab Kings, Rajasthan Royals (RR) would have taken comfort in the fact that they came close to a record run-chase.
But the news of talismanic all-rounder Ben Stokes being ruled out of the entire 14th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) with a freak finger injury would be a massive blow for the wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson-led team.
The depleted Royals face an uphill task against favourites Delhi Capitals (DC) at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday in what is likely to be another high-scoring affair.
DC have previously won five IPL games against the Jaipur-based franchise including two in the UAE last year and two in India in 2019.
The match is also a heavy-duty clash between two wicketkeeper-captains – RR’s Samson and Rishabh Pant of DC, who are competing for the wicket-keepers’ slot in India’s white-ball team along with KL Rahul.

While Pant has almost cemented his place, thanks to his recent heroics, Samson is on the fringes.
While Stokes’ unavailability is a blow to the Royals, DC have problems of their own after last year’s hero with the ball, South African pacer Anrich Nortje tested positive for Covid-19 while still being in mandatory quarantine. Pace ace Kagiso Rabada though should be available.

The Royals’ experiment with the opening slot has been an area of concern since the last couple of seasons. They have tried six different pairs till now, including the most recent opening duo of Stokes and Manan Vohra.

So, the England World Cup hero’s departure presents a big selection dilemma for the team management led by director of cricket Kumar Sangakkara.
In the present scenario, the management will have to choose between 27-year-old Liam Livingstone and South African left-hander David Miller, with the former touted as the most likely choice. Jos Buttler is all set to regain the opener’s role.

Samson, who almost won the game against Punjab single-handedly, seemed confused with his bowling choices — trying eight options in the last match. The 26-year-old couldn’t extract the best out of his bowlers, especially at the death with their biggest buy Chris Morris unable to find good support from the experienced Mustafizur Rahman. This might prompt the management to look at replacing Rahman with Andrew Tye, who has been more economical in previous editions. The only bright spot was Chetan Sakariya, who showed promise picking three wickets on his IPL debut.

On the other hand, bolstered with their emphatic victory over Chennai Super Kings, DC, despite Nortje’s absence, seem a settled side. The Prithvi Shaw-Shikhar Dhawan opening pair looks solid.

Add the solidity of Ajinkya Rahane, wicketkeeper-bat Rishabh Pant’s explosiveness, Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis and West Indian Shimron Hetmyer’s big-hitting potential to the opening combination and you know why Delhi Capitals look like a team for the long haul.

The bowling too looks potent with the experienced spin twins R Ashwin and Amit Mishra along with promising pacer Avesh Khan, who picked two wickets in the last match.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.