Their playoff berth sealed, Delhi Capitals will aim for a big win against Rajasthan Royals to enhance their chances for a second-place finish when the two teams clash in their final IPL league match in New Delhi on Saturday. The Capitals are already sweating over key pacer Kagiso Rabada‘s fitness as the South African pacer missed a game first time this season against Chennai Super Kings due to a stiff back on Wednesday. And in all likelihood, Delhi will not risk playing Rabada on Saturday, when they are sure to compete in the Play-offs for the first time in seven years.
A big win on Saturday will not only boost Delhi’s morale after the 80-run hammering at the hands of CSK but it could also propel the side to the second position in the eight-team standings. Delhi is currently sitting third with 16 points from 13 games, just behind Mumbai Indians (16 points) and table toppers CSK (18 points). A win against Rajasthan will enhance Delhi’s chances of featuring in Qualifier 1, giving them two shots at the May 12 final.
In the absence of Rabada, Delhi’s bowling attack looked miserable, but it is the shoddy performance of the batting unit which would be a cause of concern for skipper Shreyas Iyer. Chasing CSK’s challenging 179 for four, Delhi were shot out for just 99 with only Iyer (44) making a significant contribution. The likes of Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Colin Ingram would like to forget the disastrous outing against CSK and come out afresh in Delhi’s last home game. Rajasthan, on the other hand, is mathematically still alive in the tournament with 11 points from 13 games.
They need to win against Delhi and hope for favourable results from other remaining games to secure a playoff berth as the fourth team. But a win against Delhi might just not be enough for Rajasthan as it will take them to 13 points after their last game against Royal Challengers Bangalore was washed away. With Steve Smith having departed home for World Cup preparations, Ajinkya Rahane will return to captaincy duties. Ashton Turner is expected to replace Smith in the playing eleven.
The departure of Smith, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes has weakened Rajasthan’s batting, putting more responsibility on the shoulders of Rahane, Sanju Samson and Liam Livingstone but the team’s bowling unit would be pumped up after the leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal’s hat-trick in the rain-truncated match against ECB. In the last encounter between the two sides last month, it was Delhi Capitals who came out on top in Jaipur by six wickets in a high-scoring affair.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (C), Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Jalaj Saxena, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa, Colin Munro, Manjot Kalra.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (C), Ashton Turner, Ish Sodhi, Oshane Thomas, Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson, Shubham Ranjane, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Krishnappa Gowtham, Varun Aaron, Shashank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi.
The match starts at 4 PM.