IPL 2020: Can the return to Sharjah change the Rajasthan Royals’ fortune?
Rajasthan Royals have won two of their matches at Sharjah
When the Rajasthan Royals (RR) face Delhi Capitals (DC) in Match 23, they finally return to Sharjah, the ground where both their wins came. After moving to bigger grounds in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, they looked a completely different team.
Steven Smith and Sanju Samson, the two Royals’ better who were exceptional at Sharjah, have not fared well outside of it. While Samson scored 74 and 85 in the first two matches were followed by scores of 8, 4 and 0. Similarly, Smith’s scores went from 69 and 50 to 3, 5 and 6.
The one thing that RR would be relieved about is that Jos Buttler finally found form in their last game against the Mumbai Indians. It took some Kieron Pollard brilliance at the boundary rope to dismiss him.
The two victories they have are because they managed to out-bat the opposition. Their bowling unit has stood out as a weakness for the franchisee. The over-reliance on Jofra Archer is apparent, with Shreyas Gopal being the only consistent bowler in the games he has played.
Delhi Capitals however, are in pristine form. With 4 wins already in 5 games, a win today would mean a spot at the top of the table for them.
The two pacers in Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje have been a key component of their performance. While Rabada is the front-runner in the race for the purple cap, Nortje has provided him with good support. Ravi Ashwin and Axar Patel have also been amongst the wickets, alongside being economical.
Their squad has found such form and balance that Ajinkya Rahane has failed to find a spot in 11, and losing Amit Mishra to a finger injury has barely made a difference to the team.
Sharjah, which saw batsmen scoring at will when the tournament started, has been tamed a little by a few bowling performances. While Mumbai Indians managed to restrict the Sunrisers Hyderabad to 172 (the only total less than 200 at the venue), Andre Russell returned with figures of 4-0-29-2 in a high scoring encounter against DC.
Ben Stokes’ quarantine is still not over, which would save Steven Smith from the selection headache for the time being.
None of the teams are expected to make a change to their playing 11 unless there is an injury concern.
RR: Jos Buttler (wk), Yashasvi Jaiswal, Steven Smith (c), Sanju Samson, Mahipal Lomror, Rahul Tewatia, Jofra Archer, Tom Curran, Shreyas Gopal, Ankit Rajpoot, Kartik Tyagi
DC: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishabh Pant (wk), Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Harshal Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje