Who will win the clash of titans?

Patriot gives a preview of the battle between Delhi Capitals and Rajasthan Royals set to take place today

Both the Delhi Capitals and the Rajasthan Royals have seemed to turn their fortunes around with the beginning of this IPL.These teams are on fire.

Delhi Capitals once struggled to find an identity for themselves. Now they are the home of young Indian batting geniuses like Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant, and look to be the top contenders for the IPL.

Rajasthan Royals see-sawed from one extreme to the other, with no foreseeable balance in the squad. But with a cool head like Kumar Sangakarra at the helm of the backroom they’ve finally showed some promise.

Sanju Samson looked absolutely on fire with the bat on Monday, when he stayed calm even though he couldn’t time the ball at the start of his innings. By the end of it, he wasn’t so much a man with a piece of wood in his hand, he was like a monster with his weapon unleashed. If the new captain can reprise this zen at the crease for, say, a full season, the Royals are going to be in a lot of trouble for the opposition.

The Capitals probably aren’t too worried though. They have got monsters of their own.. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje should be available for selection again after completing their quarantine periods. Hear them roar in T-minus 24 hours. Give or take.

Losing an allrounder like Ben Stokes can potentially break a team because he just doesn’t have a like-for-like replacement.

All you can do is plug the batting hole or the bowling hole and pray that in the end you made the right choice. Liam Livingstone might be that choice. He was Perth Scorchers’ second-highest scorer as they stormed into the Big Bash finals only two months ago. He also hit 28 sixes in that tournament. Only one man bested him – Alex Hales – and he played one extra innings.

Delhi Capitals seems to have an ace up their hole too.Once a bowler who appeared enchanted by his own pace, Avesh Khan now seems to have learnt how to use it better. Take his wicket of MS Dhoni for example. He knew it was more important to hit that back of a length and cramp the Chennai Super Kings captain for his natural talents to yield any results. If he can keep this up – especially in the powerplay when he got the white ball to move around – the Capitals can use their big guns – Rabada and Nortje – to address a problem they had in the 2020 season. Their economy rate of 8.62 through the middle overs (7-16) was the worst among all the teams.

A T20 opener needs to get off the blocks quickly. But from 2008 to 2013, Shikhar Dhawan’s strike-rate in the powerplay was just 118. Perhaps that was a function of him playing second fiddle to the likes of David Warner when he was at Sunrisers Hyderabad. However, since his move to the Capitals in 2019, he too has become a fearsome ball-basher, with a strike-rate of 143 in the first six overs.

Last season, Royals had the worst economy rate (12.28) and picked up the fewest wickets (17) in the back end (16-20) of an innings. So, they broke the bank to fix it. Chris Morris had an economy rate of 7 in the last four overs of a game in IPL 2020. It was the best among everyone who bowled at least 50 deliveries in this phase. But, based on the events of their last match, perhaps even he needs a little help. So, is it time for Andrew Tye? The Australian maintained an economy rate of 8.3 in the death in the recent Big Bash League. Only Rashid Khan (8.00) and Adam Milne (8.36) fared better (min. 50 balls bowled).

 Among those who have taken at least 30 wickets in the IPL, Rabada’s strike-rate of 13.1 is the absolute best. He even manages to improve on that while doing the most difficult part of his job – death bowling, where he conjures a wicket every eight balls, once again the undisputed best.

 Likely XIs

Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Manan Vohra,  Sanju Samson (capt & wk),  Liam Livingstone,  Shivam Dube, Riyan Parag,  Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia,  Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Andrew Tye/Mustafizur Rahman

Delhi Capitals:  Prithvi Shaw,  Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane,  Rishabh Pant (capt & wk),  Marcus Stoinis,  Shimron Hetmyer,  R Ashwin,  Amit Mishra,  Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje,  Avesh Khan

(Cover: Sanju Samson will be the Capitals’ main threat vs Royals)



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