By Baidurjo Bhose
New Delhi: Delhi Capitals return to the Feroz Shah Kotla to play their final group game of the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League in what has been a terrific season for them. Having already qualified for the playoffs, the last game against Rajasthan Royals will be all about winning and sealing one of the top two spots in the points table. A top two finish allows teams the leeway of getting an extra chance to stay alive in the tournament.
For Rajasthan, it will be all about winning their last group game and keeping hopes alive of qualifying for the playoffs. The rain affected game against Royal Challengers Bangalore didn’t help their case as they had to share a point. But what has been done cannot be undone and the Royals will look to move forward and stamp their authority over DC.
While Delhi have had a terrible outing against Chennai Super Kings at the Chepauk Stadium in their last game, losing by 80 runs, Royals too will note that they will miss the services of skipper Steve Smith. Smith has headed back to Australia to join the rest of the teammates to prepare for the upcoming World Cup in England and Wales.
Delhi too are sweating over the status of fast bowling spearhead Kagiso Rabada. While he missed the game against CSK due to discomfort in the back, he should be fine as the management said scan reports haven’t shown anything to worry about. But as reported by IANS, the final call will be taken by Cricket South Africa who have asked for the reports to be sent to them.
While Smith and Rabada have been spoken about, one key player who will have all eyes on him will be Shreyas Gopal. Having spun a web over the likes of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers so far in the tournament, he will now look to showcase his skills against the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant. The slow and low wicket at the Kotla will definitely help his case.
The last time the two teams met, while Gopal foxed Dhawan and Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane had scored a brilliant century. But Delhi rode on the back of Pant’s 36-ball 78 to register a six-wicket win.
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Colin Ingram, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Axar Patel, Kagiso Rabada, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Colin Munro, Ankush Bains, Jagadeesha Suchith, Manjot Kalra, Keemo Paul, Jalaj Saxena, Rahul Tewatia, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa, Sandeep Lamichhane
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane, Sanju Samson, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, Riyan Parag, Ashton Turner, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Jofra Archer, Jaydev Unadkat, Dhawal Kulkarni, Prashant Chopra, Manan Vohra, Aryaman Birla, Rahul Tripathi, Krishnappa Gowtham, Shashank Singh, Liam Livingstone, Shubham Ranjane, Mahipal Lomror, Ish Sodhi, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas, Sudhesan Midhun
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at [email protected])