The Royals desperately need a win to stay in contention with the top four teams in the competition, they’ve won just two out of their past five matches and appear to be treading water. Despite sitting on the bottom of the standings, the Delhi Daredevils look a much more competitive team ever since Gautam Gambhir passed on the captaincy. With the IPL playoffs looking out of reach, the Daredevils could do some real damage to the standings with some upsets.
There’s no doubting that Delhi are still coming off that enormous high after defeating a superior-Knight Riders outfit a couple games ago, it certainly showed in their last outing against Chennai as well where they fell just 13 runs short of victory. I hate to say it, but Delhi look a much better side without former-skipper Gautam Gambhir in the line-up. After starting IPL 11 so positively with a half century, Gambhir’s campaign then took a turn for the worst as his form resembled a downhill-spiral which led to his resignation of the captaincy. On the contrary, Shreyas Iyer has turned his form around for the better as the newly-appointed Daredevils skipper, averaging 71.66 in his past four games. In spectacular touch with the bat, Iyer has also somehow managed to get his side to play a much more competitive brand of cricket which has been very appealing to both the spectators & IPL in general. Kiwi excitement-machine Colin Munro has added some real hitting power to Delhi’s top order as well, you can just sense that a big innings from the New Zealander is just around the corner. Both Iyer and Pant were the Daredevils most promising prospects heading into IPL 11, and so far they’ve delivered on expectation & potential with some big scores despite the teams average outcomes. Right now, Glenn Maxwell appears to be playing himself out of the XI which is quite hard to believe. The Star all-rounder has had a tournament to forget, and on top of that he’s only fired once with the willow in a total of seven innings. With Maxwell performing close to his best, the Daredevils might not have found themselves sitting as low as they are. In a rare-occurrence, fast bowler Trent Boult was taken to the cleaners against Chennai along with Liam Plunkett who has been consistently-economical since his inclusion in the team. It’s not overly concerning given that this is one of the first slip-ups of the tournament for Boult in particular, he’s very-rarely dominated like that.
Rajasthan skipper Ajinkya Rahane finally found himself back in the runs against Hyderabad, but it was to no avail as the visitors successfully defended their total of 151 to hand the Royals their third loss in a short-period of five matches. West Indian young gun & all-round entertainer Jofra Archer has been faultless so far, he’s doing everything that was expected of him and more with the ball claiming 3/22 & 3/26 in his first two IPL games of the year for the Royals. It’s just a shame he wasn’t available earlier, although he looks refreshed & energetic which could mean the result of an injury layoff has given the 23-year-old a well-earned rest from the game, as a result of that he’s come back in electric-form. It’s bewildering that Dhawal Kulkarni is still in the playing XI, he’s been held wicketless a total of five times already and has only managed two wickets in IPL 11 which is unsatisfactory for a specialist seamer. Jaydev Unadkat is another man who has chronically-underperformed with the ball in 2018 along with English all-rounder Ben Stokes, they can’t seem to take wickets at a regular rate which is a big problem. As for the batting, they cut the cord on the D’Arcy Short experiment four matches into the tournament while Jos Buttler continues to struggle in Rajasthan’s middle order, it’s an absolute catastrophe at the moment. With Buttler averaging a dismal 20 with the bat as a big overseas signing and Short proving to be even worse at 16.25, the Royals have been dealt a terrible deck of underperforming-overseas players this season. Even the highly sought-after Ben Stokes looked in the wilderness for a while, thankfully he’s starting to come good with recent scores of 45 & 40 against Chennai and Mumbai with the bat. Sanju Samson continues to throw his weight around with the bat, averaging 46.50 in an almost-faultless IPL campaign, both he and Rahane have been heavily relied upon to score big runs consistently. Heading to Delhi tomorrow night, the Royals must find a way to win in order to keep their season on track.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Delhi Daredevils | 32nd match | Delhi
- Shreyas Iyer
- Rishabh Pant
- Colin Munro
- Amit Mishra
- Trent Boult
Wildcard pick – Glenn Maxwell
Top 5 fantasy picks | Rajasthan Royals | 32nd match | Delhi
- Sanju Samson
- Jofra Archer
- Ben Stokes
- Ajinkya Rahane
- Krishnappa Gowtham
Wildcard pick – Mahipal Lomror
As disappointing as he’s been, the Daredevils are expected to persist with Aussie all-rounder Glenn Maxwell despite his struggling-form, he was one of their biggest buys in 2018 and it would be a waste to drop him before he’s fired a shot. Fast bowler Liam Plunkett is probably the player in the XI at risk of losing his spot the most, the IPL is cruel towards underperforming-overseas bowlers which could see one of Chris Morris or Dan Christian in the mix to return tomorrow night. Leg-spinner Rahul Tewatia hasn’t taken a wicket since mid-April, that’s four-wicketless outings which opens the door for Jayant Yadav who is yet to play a game in IPL 11.
It might be a good time to call it quits on the Jos Buttler experiment, as damaging as he can be the Englishmen has a high score of just 29 in seven matches which isn’t going to cement your spot in the team. Given that Sanju Samson is a genuine wicketkeeper-batsman, they might want to drop Buttler for D’Arcy Short who started the tournament slowly, but showed glimpses of his explosiveness before he was axed. The reason for Short coming back into Rajasthan’s side revolves around their failed opening experiments alongside skipper Ajinkya Rahane; Heinrich Klaasen was dropped after two failures and Rahul Tripathi has been just as disappointing with scores of 4 & 9. Dhawal Kulkarni’s two wickets in six IPL outings in 2018 has been a questionable selection, it might be time to send him back to the bench for a while with other seamers awaiting their opportunity in the tournament.
Delhi Daredevils (possible) – 1. Prithvi Shaw 2. Colin Munro 3. Shreyas Iyer © 4. Rishabh Pant (wk) 5. Glenn Maxwell 6. Vijay Shankar 7. Dan Christian/Chris Morris/Liam Plunkett 8. Rahul Tewatia/Jayant Yadav 9. Amit Mishra 10. Avesh Khan 11. Trent Boult.
Rajasthan Royals (possible) – 1. Ajinkya Rahane © 2. D’Arcy Short 3. Sanju Samson (wk) 4. Ben Stokes 5. Rahul Tripathi/Prashant Chopra 6. Mahipal Lomror 7. Krishnappa Gowtham 8. Jofra Archer 9. Dhawal Kulkarni/Anureet Singh 10. Ish Sodhi 11. Jaydev Unadkat.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.