Sharjah: Struggling to figure out their best eleven, Rajasthan Royals will need to come up with some quick-fix measures to snap their three-match losing streak when they take on a formidable Delhi Capitals unit in an IPL match at the Sharjah Cricket Ground on Friday.
The Royals were off to a flying start, winning both their games at Sharjah but they have struggled to adjust to the bigger grounds of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, slipping to three successive defeats.
Now back to the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, Rajasthan will take inspiration from their two big wins here to turn things around against a dominant Delhi.
Led by Shreyas Iyer, Delhi have looked solid in all three departments, winning four out of their five matches.
For Rajasthan, time is running out as they still have not been able to find their best playing XI. While the return of Ben Stokes will give them hope but the England allrounder is currently in quarantine and will be available only after 11 October.
The sudden loss of form of skipper Steve Smith and Sanju Samson—who did bulk of the scoring in the first two matches, is as much a reason for their failure as the lack of runs from the Indian batsmen in the team.
RR did try to rejig their line-up against Mumbai Indians by including young batsman Yashasvi Jaiswal and pacer Kartik Tyagi and Ankit Rajpoot in the playing XI but it didn't change their fortunes.
While Jaiswal was out for a second-ball duck at the top, Rajpoot went for 42 in his three overs but young Tyagi showed promise with his one for 36 on IPL debut.
"It was a great experience to play my first game, to make my debut against players whom I''ve only watched on television was fantastic," said Tyagi, a key member of India's Under 19 World Cup squad which made the final earlier this year.
Talking about the game against Delhi, the 19-year-old from Uttar Pradesh said: "Delhi is in a great rhythm and is doing very well. We've lost a bit of the rhythm and would like to regain some, hopefully, give a tough fight and play a good game."
The good news for RR is the return to form of opener Jos Buttler, who scored a fine 44-ball 70 in their last game.
In bowling, Jofra Archer and Tom Curran have been left to do the heavy lifting, while spinner Rahul Tewatia has not been to produce the breakthroughs consistently.
Delhi, on the other hand, have been a well-oiled machine, boosting of a solid bowling unit which is well supported by the batsmen.
While skipper Iyer has been in good form, opener Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant have done their job well. Marcus Stonis too have produced two smashing fifties so far.
On the bowling front, Kagiso Rabada has looked ominous with 12 wickets to emerge as the best bowler in the IPL so far. South African pacer Anrich Nortje too has delivered when the team needed him to.
Harshal Patel, as Ishant Sharma''s replacement, did well against Kolkata Knight Riders with 2 for 34 but he conceded 43 in their last match.
A fit-again Ravichandran Ashwin, who replaced injured Amit Mishra, also returned with one wicket for 26 in his comeback game.
Rajasthan Royals: Jos Buttler, Ben Stokes, Sanju Samson, Andrew Tye, Kartik Tyagi, Steven Smith (c), Ankit Rajpoot, Shreyas Gopal, Rahul Tewatia, Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Riyan Parag, Yashasvi Jaiswal, Anuj Rawat, Akash Singh, David Miller, Manan Vohra, Shashank Singh, Varun Aaron, Tom Curran, Robin Uthappa, Aniruddha Joshi, Jofra Archer.
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shimron Hetmyer, Kagiso Rabada, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Rishabh Pant (wk), Ishant Sharma, Axar Patel, Sandeep Lamichhane, Keemo Paul, Daniel Sams, Mohit Sharma, Anrich Nortje, Alex Carey (wk), Avesh Khan, Tushar Deshpande, Harshal Patel, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav.
Find latest and upcoming tech gadgets online on Tech2 Gadgets. Get technology news, gadgets reviews & ratings. Popular gadgets including laptop, tablet and mobile specifications, features, prices, comparison.
Chasing a modest target of 136, Iyer smashed a 41-ball 55 and, alongside Shubman Gill (46), set up KKR's win over DC.
The ECB has issued a statement saying Stokes had been cleared by its medical team to resume training following his leave to mentally refresh and undergo a second operation on his fractured left index finger.
Kolkata Knight Riders knocked Delhi Capitals out with a three-wicket win in Qualifier 2, setting up a repeat of the 2012 final with Eoin Morgan's men now facing Chennai Super Kings in the final.