IPL 2024: DC look for their power-packed batting to fire against cruising RR in a must-win scenario (preview)

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New Delhi, May 6 (IANS) It is that time of the year in IPL 2024 where every outcome in a match decides whose playoff chances are given a boost, and who suffers an almighty blow in their quest to make it to the top four.

For Delhi Capitals, who have endured an inconsistent season so far, the equation is very simple: try to get wins in their three remaining games, starting from Tuesday’s clash against Rajasthan Royals at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, and give themselves the best possible shot to enter the playoffs.

Winning three remaining matches will take the Rishabh Pant-led side to a maximum of 16 points, a factor which is in their control. But then, it is easier said than done for DC, returning after nearly a week’s break from the competition, as uncontrollables are huge.

RR and Kolkata Knight Riders have 16 points each, while Chennai Super Kings, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Lucknow Super Giants are at 12 points each and can easily breach 16-point mark in the points table.

In this scenario, the onus will be high on both batting and bowling departments for DC to have a real crack at making it to the playoffs, which makes them more desperate to get those two points on Tuesday.

The venue, with short square boundaries and a flat pitch, has been an absolute run-fest so far. The average first innings score stands at an imposing 249, while the corresponding figure for second innings is at 222 runs.

All three victories at this venue – two of which fell in DC’s kitty – have come via batting first. Replicating that against an in-form RR bowling attack comprising Trent Boult (seven power-play scalps), Sandeep Sharma, Avesh Khan, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal, would require for DC to surround all of their batting might and click as a cohesive unit.

Jake Fraser-McGurk has been an absolute revelation with his batting, especially at the top of the order in David Warner’s absence - catching everyone’s attention with his free-flowing strokeplay, supple wrists and an ever-straight bat swing.

Pant, despite starting slow and looking scratchy at times, has been able to be at his vintage best and can even cart bowlers to cleaners with his big hits in the death overs. Tristan Stubbs has been crucial in providing finishing touches to DC’s innings with his sublime power-hitting skills.

DC would need Prithvi Shaw, Abishek Porel and some lusty hitting from Axar Patel to fire if they are to challenge RR, who have been a force to reckon with. With the ball, Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel have been the controllers of middle-overs with their persistence helping them get wickets and maintain a good economy rate.

The fast-bowling department is still a cause of worry, as they haven’t been consistent in their lines and lengths. Mukesh Kumar, Khaleel Ahmed (seven power-play scalps) and Rasikh Dar have been amongst the wickets, but DC need their fast-bowlers to be at their razor-sharp best to counter RR’s in-form batters.

Second-placed RR’s away leg after ending its Jaipur home games has seen them thrash Lucknow Super Giants by seven wickets in Lucknow, but they suffered a solitary run defeat to SRH in a thrilling game at Hyderabad. The Sanju Samson-led side would be hoping it's just a minor blip in their pursuit to qualify for playoffs.

Skipper Sanju Samson, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Riyan Parag and Jos Buttler are undoubtedly the engine room of RR’s batting, with Rovman Powell, Shimron Hetmyer and Dhruv Jurel ready to provide finishing touches at the end.

The last time these two teams met in IPL 2024, RR edged DC by 12 runs in Jaipur, with Riyan making an unbeaten 45-ball 84. The visitors’ would be hoping to do the double over a team which is desperate to get wins in their remaining time in IPL 2024.


Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (c), Prithvi Shaw, David Warner, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Axar Patel, Mukesh Kumar, Mitchell Marsh, Anrich Nortje, Pravin Dubey, Vicky Ostwal, Abishek Porel, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Lalit Yadav, Ishant Sharma, Yash Dhull, Tristan Stubbs, Ricky Bhui, Kumar Kushagra, Rasikh Dar, Jhye Richardson, Sumit Kumar, Shai Hope, Lizaad Williams, Swastik Chhikara and Gulbadin Naib.

Rajasthan Royals: Sanju Samson (c), Jos Buttler, Shimron Hetmyer, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Dhruv Jurel, Riyan Parag, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sandeep Sharma, Trent Boult, Yuzvendra Chahal, Avesh Khan, Rovman Powell, Keshav Maharaj, Nandre Burger, Kuldeep Sen, Shubham Dubey, Donovan Ferreira, Kunal Rathore, Navdeep Saini, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Abid Mushtaq and Tanush Kotian.