Dubai: The high-flying Delhi Capitals will be fancied to pick up full points against a wayward Rajasthan Royals when they meet in the 2020 Indian Premier League (IPL) in Sharjah on Friday.
Currently the only team to have never appeared in an IPL final – they qualified for the IPL play-offs in 2019 for the first time in seven years – Capitals has displayed a certain tenacity under captain Shreyas Iyer and head coach Ricky Ponting so far.
Starting with the Super Over win against Kings XI Punjab, Delhi Capitals have only got better with each match. In their second encounter, the team was well-balanced for a 44-run win over former three-time champions Chennai Super Kings.
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The next match gave a jolt as the bowlers from the Capitals did well to contain opposing batsmen, but could do very little as their batsmen failed to rise to the occasion to go down by 15 runs against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The Capitals bounced back to win by 18 runs against the Kolkata Knight Riders and then subdued the star-studded batting line-up of Royal Challengers Bangalore to win by a massive 59 runs and occupy the second place in the standings.
Various players have put their hands up at different times for the Capitals. Marcus Stoinis has two half-centuries already while the young Prithvi Shaw did well chipping in with a well-made 64 runs even as skipper Iyer led from the front with an unbeaten 88 from just 38 deliveries earlier last week. Shikhar Dhawan has been trying to spend time in the middle to find his form and once the left-hander gets going, very few bowlers will be in a position to contain the Indian opener.
In the bowling department, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Ravichandran Ashwin have managed to do maximum damage with the South African seamer currently at the top of bowlers’ standings with the Purple Cap and C wickets to his name. Nortje was miserly in his last match while taking three wickets for just 33 runs, while Ashwin got back into groove after that freak injury in their opener against KXIP.
The Royals, meanwhile, have gone through a massive downfall in the ongoing season so far. Despite beginning their campaign with two back-to-back wins, they are now tottering in seventh position on the points table following three consecutive defeats.
However, this trend may change very soon as Jos Buttler found himself among the runs when he scored 70 off 44 deliveries against Mumbai, but couldn’t stop his team from losing. Skipper Steve Smith started off well with a couple of half centuries, but had been falling to poor strokes and came up with individual scores of 3, 5 and 6 against KKR, RCB and MI, respectively.
The arrival of English allrounder Ben Stokes could also change a lot of things within the team operation. Stokes, who was in New Zealand with his ailing father, will not be available for selection against Capitals as he would be completing his mandatory six-day quarantine only on Friday/
Smith is well aware of the situation and believes that he and his side could bounce back soon and pick up the momentum in what is expected to be a highscoring match when action returns to Sharjah on Friday.
Catch the match
Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Capitals
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Start: 6 pm UAE
Live telecast on Bein Sports