Injury-hit Delhi Capitals face inconsistent Rajasthan Royals

Delhi Capitals have form and supremacy on the points table, and also the most recent win over Rajasthan Royals on their side when the two teams face off at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Just four days back, Delhi, on the back of a brilliant bowling performance, had hammered Rajasthan by 46 runs in Sharjah. It was Rajasthan’s home game. But a lot has changed since then. A hamstring injury – possibly during the Rajasthan game – has forced Delhi’s dynamic wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant out for a while. DC skipper Shreyas Iyer said that Pant is “at least out for a week, can be even more”.
With Pant out, DC’s settled playing XI as well as the batting line-up went out of the window in the previous game against Mumbai Indians, which the team lost by 5 wickets. Alex Carey had to come in as the wicketkeeper. Carey’s inclusion meant Shimron Hetmyer, who showed his full range of strokeplay during the Rajasthan game in Sharjah with a 24-ball 45, had to sit out.
Ajinkya Rahane got a game and batted at No. 3, which was Shreyas Iyer’s pet spot in the batting order. Rahane managed a run-a-ball 15, but that was far from what was expected from him.

Earlier in the tournament, Delhi had lost in-form leg-spinner Amit Mishra due to a finger injury. After Mishra, it was Ishant Sharma’s turn on Monday. The fast bowler was ruled out for the remainder of this season due to an acute episode of pain in his left rib cage while bowling at a team training session. Senior spinner R Ashwin had also suffered a shoulder sprain at the start of the tournament, but has now recovered and is proving to be a vital cog in DC’s bowling group.
If DC’s power-packed batting line-up had every expert raving before the tournament, the bowling group has been simply sensational in the tournament so far. Fast bowler Kagiso Rabada – with 17 wickets to his name – holds the Purple Cap, while fellow speedster and countryman Anrich Nortje (8 wickets) has proved to be an able ally. Ashwin and Axar Patel have manned the spin department with composure. All-rounder Harshal Patel has also played his role to perfection.

If DC is losing players to freak injuries, Royals, on the other hand, have been boosted with the addition of marquee all-rounder Ben Stokes to their starting line-up. Where Stokes fits into the batting order for Rajasthan will be of interest given that he opened in his first match back against Sunrisers Hyderabad – a game RR won by 5 wickets. Add Jos Buttler, Steve Smith and Sanju Samson, and the Royals have one of the deadliest top order.
Regardless of the big names in their team, the unheralded Rahul Tewatia has wowed everyone with his daredevilry and astounding strokeplay in this IPL.

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