Tomorrow, one of the most iconic moments in IPL history could be repeated. Ravichandran Ashwin had mankaded Jos Buttler in their opening game of IPL 2019. Alas, they meet again. The colour of Ashwin’s jersey has changed, yes, but nothing has changed in his thought process about whether mankading is right or not. After giving a mankading warning to Aaron Finch (who by the way, was way way out of the crease and definitely deserved to be mankaded if Buttler did), he tweeted that that was the first and last warning he was giving, and that you could expect him to actually go through with it the next time! Will history repeat itself, will lightening strike twice? Let’s see tomorrow.
Delhi Capitals Probable XI
- Prithvi Shaw
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Shreyas Iyer
- Shimron Hetmyer*
- Rishabh Pant
- Marcus Stoinis*
- Axar Patel
- Anrich Nortje*
- Harshal Patel
- Ravichandran Ashwin
- Kagiso Rabada*
The Capitals have easily been the best team of the tournament, and the points table reflects that. They just don’t have any problems. If something like a perfect team existed, these DC and MI sides would embody that completely. The batting has been excellent and the bowling has been even better. Seniors have taken charge and youngsters have stepped up too. It has been an amazing season for them.
If I had to point out a problem, I would call out the performances of Shikhar Dhawan and Shimron Hetmyer. As senior batsman, they have disappointed to some extent. In the case of Dhawan, he has gotten a lot of starts but failed to convert any of them. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that the hourglass has been turned on Dhawan’s openers spot in the Indian national team. With KL Rahul performing brilliantly as an opener, and Rohit Sharma giving just enough, he will be the first one to lose his spot. Plus, youngsters like Devdutt Padikkal and fellow DC player Prithvi Shaw have also announced their arrival, and will definitely challenge Dhawan even for that backup opener’s spot. In this DC side, they have Ajinkya Rahane just sitting on the bench. I thnk that if Dhawan doesn’t come good at Sharjah, he is out and Rahane is in.
About Shimron Hetmyer, he just hasn’t looked like the player who hit that 139 against India back in 2019. His fitness has definitely been affected by the lockdown, and so has his game. DC is winning right now, so they aen’t really paying attention to this, but as soon as DC lose a game, they will look to make changes and Hetmyer will be the first one out. DC can actually solve both Dhawan and Hetmyer’s problem by playing Jason Roy and an extra Indian pacer, say Avesh Khan. Jason Roy could really make a big splash at Sharjah, we’ve seen he loves small grounds (which batsman doesn’t though), and having an extra bowling option is never a bad idea. If one of the spinners is having an off day, you have another pacer to fall back on. It’s a great idea, but I think DC would want to give one more game to their players before making any drastic changes.
Rabada and Nortje appreciation paragraph
Rabada and Nortje are amazing. That’s it, that’s the paragraph.
Rajasthan Royals Probable XI
- Jos Buttler*
- Yashasvi Jaiswal/Manan Vohra
- Sanju Samson (wk)
- Steve Smith*
- Mahipal Lomror
- Rahul Tewatia
- Tom Curran*/Ben Stokes*/Oshane Thomas*/Andrew Tye*
- Jofra Archer*
- Shreyas Gopal
- Kartik Tyagi
- Ankit Rajpoot
It isn’t ideal right now to be an RR fan. We are in a sticky spot, and need to win 6 from 9 remaining games to secure a spot in the playoffs. But it definitely helps that we are going back to Sharjah, our fortress for this season! We have won both the matches that we have played there, and Sanju Samson and Steve Smith have particularly enjoyed the ground. This Sharjah track may just be the push that our disembodied batting lineup needs to get going.
Yashasvi Jaiswal and the opening dilemma – Part 2
Once again, the RR management have a lot of decisions to make. Last time, they played exactly the XI I wanted. But this time, even I don’t know what I want. I have really campaigned for Yashasvi Jaiswal, and I hope that they back him, but honestly Manan Vohra does look like a more practical choice. And looking at RR’s track record this season, they aren’t here to create any Cinderella stories, they’re here to win. So they might just go for Vohra ahead of Yashasvi. Or they might open with Smith since he has done well as an opener at Sharjah, and play Vohra in the middle order. I really really really hope I’m wrong here though, and that Yashasvi plays, makes a huge score and cements his place in the team.
TO BEn or NOT TO BEn
Another dilemma is of who to play as the second overseas pacer. The thing is , Ben Stokes is in UAE. His quarantine will be over by the game. He should play then, right? Well, going straight into a match without any training or practice for the last few months isn’t something you would like to do. It would risk injury and his performance might not even be worth the risk, considering he hasn’t trained for so long and probably wouldn’t be in good knick. If he’s available and says that he can play, then great, problem solved. But if he doesn’t, then RR have a decision to make.
Tommy, stay! Or not…
So in Stokes’ absence, the options are Tom Curran, who has been playing that role since the start of the season, Oshane Thomas and Andrew Tye. Curran hasn’t outright done anything to be kicked out, but he isn’t really your ideal death bowler. Because RR doesn’t have any gun death bowler other than Archer, the captain is having to save his overs for the death and that allows the opposition to gain momentum at the start of the innings. That’s why one of Oshane Thomas or Andrew Tye may be brought in. But this is very unlikely since Ben Stokes will definitely be available for the next game and RR wouldn’t like to make a change for just 1 game.
I think a Buttler-Smith-Sanju masterclass is on the cards tomorrow. RR’s terrific three haven’t really clicked in tandem in any of the games this season, and that is costing them the games. These 3 are all class batsmen though, and if there’s any ground in the world where they’re gonna get going, it is Sharjah Cricket Stadium, UAE. If not all 3, at least two of them need to make a huge partnership tomorrow in order for RR to win the game.
Prediction – Well…I mean, I have to say RR only so that there’s no conflict of interest when I’m watching the match! But the analyst in me is going DC all the way. Official prediction still remains RR though, sadly.
My Current Prediction Counter – 15-7