DC aim for top 2 finish, RR hope to keep qualification hopes alive

As the clock tick-tocked relentlessly, the game between Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals was washed away due to persistent rain. Even though the groundstaff worked tirelessly and the umpires decided to hold a truncated game, rain again intervened and the game was eventually abandoned. As a result, it ended RCB’s chances of progressing to the playoffs with RR’s hopes hanging by a thread.

As RR take on Delhi Capitals in their next IPL game, they have an uphill task in front of them. The franchise has to beat DC in their final match of the league phase and hope that SRH lose to RCB and neither KKR nor KXIP would win more than one of their remaining two matches.

One of the concerns for RR going into their remaining matches during the backend of the tournament was the franchise missed out on key players such as Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer, with the duo returning to England ahead of the World Cup. Steven Smith, the skipper, also returned to Australia after the match versus RCB.

However, RR put up a good show in their crucial game versus Sunrisers Hyderabad, with the likes of Liam Livingstone, Oshane Thomas, Sanju Samson, Shreyas Gopal and Varun Aaron shining brightly. The pair – Aaron and Thomas – mostly covered up for the absence of Archer in the game against SRH by bowling with good pace, while the former also employed his deceptive knuckleball. Meanwhile, Gopal (18 scalps this season) continued to lead the attack with his legspin.

DC, their formidable opponents, have already made it to the playoffs. However, they would look to end the league phase with a victory and avoid the Eliminator route. Unfortunately for the home side, they lost out on the services of their spearhead, Kagiso Rabada, after he was ruled out of the rest of the IPL with a back niggle. Rabada, the highest wicket-taker (25) of the tournament so far, has led the attack admirably by bowling with a burst of extra pace and cleverly mixing up his lengths.

In his absence, Trent Boult, who went for 21 runs in his final over versus Chennai Super Kings, has to step up. Chris Morris, who has done reasonably well with 13 scalps this season, alongside Axar Patel has a role to play. On the other hand, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant have to carry the burden of shoring up the batting on their shoulders.

What to expect: The track at the Feroz Shah Kotla has been mostly on the slower side. On a slightly positive note, for the match between RCB and DC, there was a bit more pace on offer. The weather is expected to be mostly warm.

Rajasthan Royals: In Smith’s absence, Rahane could again take over the leadership duties on a temporary basis. Mahipal Lomrar, the batting all rounder, came in for Ashton Turner for the game versus RCB and with the track in Delhi set to help slow bowlers, the think tank might give him another chance. In the absence of Smith, Turner could also get another opportunity.

Probable XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson (wk), Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag, Stuart Binny, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat/Ish Sodhi, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas

Delhi Capitals: With Rabada ruled out, the experienced Boult is set to play. Colin Ingram hasn’t exactly found his touch and as a result, they could be tempted to try out Hanuma Vihari.

Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Colin Ingram/Hanuma Vihari, Sherfane Rutherford, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Jagadeesha Suchith, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult

What they said

“It (the loss against CSK) is really going to effect us, especially the [Net] run rate. The way we chased, it wasn’t expected from the batsmen but it is a good reality check for us. Good that it happened at this stage” – Shreyas Iyer, after DC slipped to a loss versus CSK.