Rajasthan Royals, having lost to Punjab Kings in a close encounter, will be aiming for a quick turnaround when it hosts Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League at the Barsapara Stadium, Guwahati on Saturday.
Royals failed to predict an early onset of dew against Kings and their bowlers ended up leaking 197 runs. In the end, the target proved to be too much despite a late surge from Shimron Hetmyer and impact substitute Dhruv Jurel.
“I thought we played extremely well. To keep them [PBKS] below 200 is fantastic. [However, during the chase] We had to hold Jos [Buttler] back as he had to get stitches on his hand [having picked up an injury during fielding]. We started well and (openers Ravichandran Ashwin and Yashasvi Jaiswal) got to 57/2 in PowerPlay. Then, of course, Jurel and Hetmyer were amazing. But there were a few areas, where we could have done better,” said Kumar Sangakkara, head coach of Royals.
On Saturday as well, Royals will be fretting over the availability of their talismanic opener. “We are waiting for our medical staff to confirm Buttler’s fitness. We will make a final call based on that,” said Sangakkara.
The Capitals have had a torrid start to their season, losing to Lucknow Super Giants and Gujarat Titans without putting in much fight. Their batting has failed to click as a unit, with skipper David Warner’s inability to switch gears being one of the many reasons holding the side back. His opening partner Prithvi Shaw also hasn’t provided the side rapid starts, which had been the foundation of the Capitals’ consistent performances in recent years. Shaw has struggled against pace and against Royals’ Trent Boult, who has taken the most wickets in the PowerPlay in IPL since 2020, the right-handed batter will have his task cut out.
“I don’t think we can put it all on the batters. Our fielding has been below-par and our bowlers have let it seep in the end. I don’t think there are many batters who are comfortable facing 150 kmph deliveries. Our young batters are learning the hard way. But we hope they get more comfortable as we grow into the tournament,” said James Hopes, the Capitals’ bowling coach.
To make matters worse, the side will also be without Mitchell Marsh, who has flown back to Australia for personal reasons.
The Capitals can take solace from the fact that they have dominated Royals ever since their rebranding in 2019, with six wins in eight games.
With the game scheduled for an early start (3:30 PM IST), the influence of dew should be negligible, which should bring the bowlers back into the game, in conditions tilted in favour of the batters.
Despite their setback against the Kings, Royals should start as favourites against the out-of-sorts Capitals.
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