We are reaching a stage in the IPL where a defeat can all but eliminate some of the sides. Barring extreme circumstances, with four points from eight matches, Delhi Daredevils, who will be happier coming back home after their defeat in Pune, need to win all their remaining six matches. Or at least five of them. If they do manage to make this match one of those five or six, it will leave their opponents Rajasthan Royals in a similar situation. They still sit at less than 50% success rate, with three wins in seven matches. A win for Royals will put them at No. 4 alongside Kolkata Knight Riders, and make them genuine contenders to make the playoffs. Needless to say, margin for error for either side is minimal.
Daredevils are only just recovering from what turned out to be a mistake: having Gautam Gambhir as captain and opening batsman. The rejigged side after his stepping down looks a bigger threat to the opposition. Royals themselves are benefitting from Jofra Archer's inclusion two matches ago. Both the sides will love a match-winning effort from their big overseas buys. Daredevils' Glenn Maxwell and Royals' Jos Buttler have scored 126 and 120 runs respectively in seven matches, which is not what the sides bargained for.
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Mahipal Lomror played ahead of Shreyas Gopal - who has five wickets this season at a decent economy of only 7.06 - in Royals' last game. It will be interesting to see if they persist with the combination.
Their last meeting was the first time a side successfully defended a total this IPL. It was a rain-shortened game, and Daredevils failed to chase 71 in six overs.
Delhi Daredevils: 1 Colin Munro, 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Glenn Maxwell, 6 Vijay Shankar, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Liam Plunkett, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Avesh Khan, 11 Trent Boult
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Ajinkya Rahane (capt), 2 Rahul Tripathi, 3 Sanju Samson, 4 Ben Stokes, 5 Jos Buttler (wk), 6 Mahipal Lomror, 7 K Gowtham, 8 Jofra Archer, 9 Dhawal Kulkarni, 10 Ish Sodhi, 11 Jaydev Unadkat
Royals could think of playing two legspinners: Maxwell has had his share of troubles against that variety of bowling, including against Ish Sodhi, who has dismissed him twice in 28 balls for only 31 runs.
Expect Daredevils to hold back spin until they dismiss Ajinkya Rahane, whose strike rate against pace this year has been 117.2 as opposed to 143 against spin.
Stats that matter
Daredevils last beat Royals in 2012, and have lost to them seven times since then
Royals' specialist overseas batsmen have the worst strike rate among all teams this year: 116.4
Amit Mishra has bowled almost exclusively in the middle overs, going at an excellent economy rate of 6.7
Avesh Khan has bowled only seven Powerplay overs so far, but he boasts a good economy rate of 7.1
Jofra Archer comes into the match with a death-overs economy rate of 4.8 in this IPL. He has bowled only four overs in the stage, but in finding a way to score runs off him lies a big challenge for Daredevils
Colin Munro looks like he is hitting form after a slow start to the tournament. He has batted 16 and 18 balls in his last two innings; if he goes on to face 30, his strike rate should get you enough points.
"We need to win six out of six, which is the only motivation we can take into the remaining games. We are really effective in home games and, if we can keep the team stable, that should serve us well."
Shreyas Iyer, Daredevils' captain, banks on home comforts