Undercooked Rajasthan meet in-form Delhi
Match factsApril 28, 2009
Start time 16.45pm (14.45GMT)
The Centurion leg of the IPL begins on Tuesday and the first match at Supersport Park features teams in different halves of the league. Delhi Daredevils won three out of three games and are currently in second spot, behind Deccan Chargers who won all of their four matches. Last year's champions Rajasthan Royals are second from bottom with only one win - after a Super Over against Kolkata Knight Riders - from four games and will be underdogs against a formidable Delhi side.
Delhi have almost no worries with any disciplines of their game. Their bowlers have struck form: Dirk Nannes proved a handful with the new ball with his skiddy pace while the spin duo of Daniel Vettori and Amit Mishra succeeded in stalling Bangalore Royal Challengers in the last game. Delhi's strength is their powerful top-order and at least one batsman has come good in every game to ensure victory. A minor worry, though, is the form of Gautam Gambhir who is yet to make a contribution to Delhi's campaign.
Rajasthan's two defeats so far have been because of batting collapses: they folded for 58 against Bangalore and 112 against Kings XI Punjab. They are missing Shane Watson's contributions with the bat and Graeme Smith has been in poor form this season. They've had to rely on Yusuf Pathan for big hits and the lack of depth - Dimitri Mascarenhas and Ravindra Jadeja are a spot too high at Nos 5 and 6 - is hurting them.
Form guideDelhi: Tillakaratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers have 117 and 126 runs respectively at strike-rates of over 150 from two innings. Gambhir, however, has only 31 runs from three matches. Vettori is their leading wicket-taker with six wickets and an economy-rate of just over seven while Mishra impressed with 1 for 19 in his only game.
Rajasthan: That Shane Warne has the best batting average - 39.00 - among the Rajasthan batsman says a lot about how poor the rest have been. Smith has scored only 19 runs in three innings. Left-arm fast bowler Kamran Khan has been their best bowler with five wickets and an economy-rate of only 4.90.
Watch out forTillakaratne Dilshan: The pre-tournament talk regarding Delhi's batting revolved around their exciting new signing, David Warner, and a few people were surprised when Dilshan was selected ahead of the Australian in the XI. Dilshan, however, has played two vital innings which helped Delhi recover from losing their openers cheaply.
Team newsDelhi have lost Manoj Tiwary to injury and replaced him with Mithun Manhas, who held his nerve during a tense finish against Bangalore. Mishra, who was also brought in for the last game, is likely to retain his place unless the conditions in Centurion are extremely seamer friendly.
Delhi: 1 Gautam Gambhir, 2 Virender Sehwag (capt), 3 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Mithun Manhas, 6 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 7 Daniel Vettori, 8 Dirk Nannes, 9 Pradeep Sangwan, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Ashish Nehra.
After the defeat against Punjab, Warne said that they would make changes to the top-order but it's hard to predict what those changes will be. Tyron Henderson and Lee Carseldine are options but Rajasthan have few strong players on the bench to pick from.
Rajasthan: 1 Graeme Smith, 2 Swapnil Asnodkar, 3 Rob Quiney/Tyron Henderson/Lee Carseldine, 4 Yusuf Pathan, 5 Dimitri Mascarenhas, 6 Ravindra Jedeja, 7 Shane Warne (capt), 8 Mahesh Rawat (wk), 9 Abhishek Raut, 10 Kamran Khan, 11 Munaf Patel.
Head-to-head recordDelhi and Rajasthan played each other thrice last season. Delhi won the first encounter easily by nine wickets, but lost the next two. Rajasthan clinched a home victory by three wickets in the second league game before winning the semi-final by a whopping 105 runs in Mumbai.
George Binoy is a senior sub-editor at Cricinfo