Delhi Capitals VS Rajasthan Royals (File photo) | Photo: PTI
Sharjah: A struggling Steve Smith-led Rajasthan Royals (RR) will aim to get back to winning ways when they face a confident Delhi Capitals (DC) in the 23rd match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium here on Friday.
DC are happily sitting at the second spot on the table with eight points from five matches while RR are seventh in the eight-team competition with four points from five matches.
So far, DC have clicked all the boxes, with both their batsmen and bowlers living up to the expectations. The main reason behind DC's success is that they have been making collective efforts.
Opener Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, captain Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, and Marcus Stoinis have been contributing with the bat.
In their last match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Stoinis came down the order and made a 26-ball unbeaten 53 to propel his side to a decent total.
Their bowling attack will once again be led by Kagiso Rabada, who has been the leading wicket-taker for his side so far. Rabada's compatriot Anrich Nortje has supported him well and had put up decent show in the 'death' overs.
DC, however, received a big blow when ace spinner Amit Mishra was ruled out of the tournament due to a finger injury. R Ashwin didn't let Mishra absence slacken DC. He and Axar Patel have troubled the opponents with their top-class spin and against RR the duo is once again expected to continue with their form.
On the other hand, RR's batting revolves around Smith, Sanju Samson, and Jos Buttler while the bowling attack relies heavily on speedster Jofra Archer. RR's success depends largely on these players' performances.
Samson started the season well, but failed to maintain consistency, which has happened with the opener in the past editions too.
RR's middle-order has also been below-par this season and the think-tank might opt to promote Tom Curran, who looks in good touch with the bat.
Curran, meanwhile, also needs to support Archer while spinner Shreyas Gopal, who had a decent outing against Mumbai Indians, needs to keep the momentum going.
Sharjah has always been a batting paradise and looking at the smaller boundaries here, another high-scoring contest is likely on cards on Friday evening.
Rajasthan Roayls: Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson (w-k), Andrew Tye, KartikTyagi, Steven Smith (captain), Ankit Rajpoot, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Riyan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, MananVohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Aniruddha Joshi, Jofra Archer
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (captain), Kagiso Rabada, Marcus Stoinis, Sandeep Lamichhane, Ishant Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Alex Carey, Mohit Sharma, Prithvi Shaw, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Tushar Deshpande, Rishabh Pant, Harshal Patel, Keemo Paul, Anrich Nortje, Daniel Sams