Having been brutally crushed in their last three games, the Rajasthan Royals (RR) will hope for change in fortunes when they return to Sharjah. RR got off to a brilliant start in IPL 2020, even chasing down a record 224 against KXIP before going off the boil in the matches played in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
On the other hand, the Delhi Capitals (DC) have four wins in five matches to their credit. In their last match against the Royal Challengers Bangalore, they displayed complete control, first posting a score close to 200, and then restricting RCB to a mere 137 runs.
The battle against a rampant Delhi side will be a tough one for RR as their key batsmen Steve Smith and Sanju Samson seem to have lost their form over the last few games.
As RR look to hit the right notes against Delhi, we analyse three player battles that could impact the outcome of the game.
#1. Steve Smith vs Kagiso Rabada
While the Jos Buttler vs Kagiso Rabada battle promises to be a highly enticing one, Smith’s tussle with the DC pace spearhead assumes greater significance in the wake of the RR captain’s inexplicable tactics in the previous matches.
Smith has tried to take on an opposition fast bowler twice and failed miserably on both occasions. In the contest against KKR, Smith suffered against Pat Cummins, with an ugly hoick eventually bringing an end to his innings.
Smith tried to repeat the same against Jasprit Bumrah in the game against the Mumbai Indians, but the result was no different.
Kagiso Rabada will be well aware of Smith’s itchiness. Being the RR captain, Smith will want to make a statement by leading from the front but playing ugly slogs is not a part of his natural game. The intelligent player that he is, Smith will have learnt from his mistakes.
However, Rabada will look to entice another false stroke from the RR batsman while giving nothing away. With 12 wickets in five matches, Rabada is having a sensational IPL 2020 and will look to keep his run going by winning the battle against Smith.
#2. Prithvi Shaw vs Jofra Archer
Young DC opener Prithvi Shaw has carried on his good form from last year’s IPL. He has been extremely consistent in IPL 2020 so far. In five matches, Shaw has notched up 179 runs at an excellent strike rate of 147.93.
Shaw has taken great advantage of the power play overs and has got his team off to flying starts while Shikhar Dhawan has failed to get going in IPL 2020. In the last match against RCB, Shaw looked good for a big score when he was dismissed for 42.
The DC opener will be in for a real fight against RR's Jofra Archer. Even as RR have struggled for consistency, Archer has run in hard and upped his pace to keep the batsmen on their toes and some of his well-directed bouncers have been unplayable.
Although he has only claimed five wickets, Archer has given away very little. He has maintained an exceptional economy rate of 7.10. Being a dynamic batsman, Shaw will definitely look to take on Archer and the contest between the two promises to be a tight one.
#3. Shreyas Iyer vs Shreyas Gopal
It’s the battle of the Shreyas’ - Iyer vs Gopal.
DC captain Shreyas Iyer has looked in fine form in the tournament even though his consistency has been missing. In five matches, he has 181 runs to his name at a strike rate of 143.65.
However, while he has gotten off to a number of good starts, Iyer crossed the fifty mark only once, when he made a blistering 88 off 38 balls against the Kolkata Knight Riders. Iyer played well against Varun Chakravarthy and took the blower to the cleaners.
Being a swift hitter of the ball, Iyer will be keen to take on RR leggie Shreyas Gopal as well. However, even though the latter has not been in great form this season, he seems to be slowly rediscovering his touch.
After being relatively quiet in RR's first three matches, Gopal has returned with reasonable figures of 1 for 27 and 2 for 28 in the last two games. In fact, against Mumbai, Gopal dismissed two in-form batsmen in Rohit Sharma and Ishan Kishan. Shreyas will be looking to have a similar impact when he goes up against the DC batsman.Published 09 Oct 2020, 15:48 IST