Rajasthan v Delhi, IPL 2011, Jaipur April 11, 2011

Delhi face buoyant Rajasthan

Match facts

Tuesday, April 12
Start time 1600 (1030 GMT)

Big picture

Delhi Daredevils were among the pre-tournament favourites in each of the first three seasons of the IPL. They also began each of the first three seasons with victories. This time, though, they have been questions over the strength of their squad, and they started with a big defeat to Mumbai Indians. The only plus from their opening game was the middle-order batting of Venugopal Rao and Naman Ojha; the pair put up some resistance after the crowd-pullers at the top had flopped.

On Tuesday, Delhi come up against an opponent who seemed to have the weakest team on paper, especially in the absence of Shane Watson, who is away in Bangladesh where he broke the record for hitting the most sixes in a one-day innings.

As usual, in their opening game against Deccan Chargers, Rajasthan relied on their low-profile Indian players to provide solid performances. Amit Singh and Siddharth Trivedi delivered, taking three wickets apiece, while Shane Warne showed little sign of being away from cricket for a year with an accurate spell of legspin bowling, which fetched him two wickets.

Team talk

Rajasthan have one injury worry ahead of the game: Jacob Oram has picked up a groin injury, and a decision on including him will be taken only on Tuesday morning. Their opener Amit Paunikar had a difficult time against the Deccan Chargers quick bowlers, and Rajasthan may be tempted to pick Swapnil Asnodkar in his place.

Lasith Malinga's electric display put Delhi out of the game so early that little can be gauged about their players from the performance on Sunday. They may be tempted to retain the same XI for Tuesday's match.

In the spotlight

Irfan Pathan played his first match in a year on Sunday, and showed signs of getting the ball to move back into the right-hand batsmen. It's a skill which he will need to show on a consistent basis if he is to entertain thoughts of making a national comeback.

Till the arrival of Shane Watson, the man Rajasthan will look to for the big hits will be Ross Taylor. He has shown how destructive he can be recently, during his demolition of Pakistan's bowling in the World Cup, but has proved to be extremely inconsistent.

Prime numbers

  • James Hopes, who is one of Delhi's overseas players, has the sixth highest strike-rate in IPLs: 149.32
  • Virender Sehwag is only 21 short of reaching 1000 IPL runs. Rahul Dravid doesn't get much credit for his Twenty20 batting, but he too is closing in on the 1000-run mark, just 53 behind Sehwag.

The chatter

"They have some very good batsmen in Virender Sehwag, David Warner and Aaron Finch who are capable of wresting the match away from us. But we want to concentrate on our strengths rather than worrying about the things which we can't control."
Johan Botha knows who Delhi's key players are

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo