Their IPL 2024 campaign hanging by a bare thread, inconsistent Delhi Capitals will host rampaging Rajasthan Royals who have one foot in the playoffs already and would be eager to reclaim their top spot in the standings.

The Capitals have blown hot and cold all throughout, alternating between unbelievably good and poor. Starting their season away from home, DC went down in four of their first-five games before winning four in the next five. Royals, on the other hand, had a long run at no. 1 spot, winning eight of their 10 games which includes two streaks of four victories on the trot. Both teams though are coming off defeats.

Delhi’s woes were partly due to injuries that hit their camp, robbing them of the chance to field their strongest XI, and part due to the indifferent form of some of their sure starters. Prithvi Shaw has had a year of two halves, his numbers seeing a constant decline in the second half of his eight games thus far. However, Jake Fraser-McGurk has grabbed his opportunity with both hands and emerged as a silver lining for DC. His scarcely believable strike-rate of 233.33 after six innings is the all-time best in a season (minimum 50 balls faced), and he currently averages over 43 with the bat. Together with captain Rishabh Pant and Tristan Stubbs, the trio has been doing the heavy-lifting with the bat for the side.

The Capitals have also won last two of their three games in Delhi, scoring 220+ on both occasions, which should lift their spirits as they enter the must-win territory to remain in playoffs contention. Two of their remaining three are in the comforts of their home ground. However, the venue’s propensity for producing run-fests this year could play right into Royals’ hands. RR’s top-four are currently aggregating the highest (1453 runs at 48.43) among all 10 teams despite Jos Buttler’s lean patches on either side of his two spectacular centuries in run-chases. DC, in comparison, fare eighth.

The two teams are on opposite ends in terms of fast-bowling returns as well. Rajasthan’s quicks have been the most economical in the competition at 8.66 while Delhi’s are second from bottom, leaking at 11 RPO and averaging 33.78. Even the most economical of DC pacers, Khaleel Ahmed, has averaged 9.47. That said, Delhi do have the upper hand over their Tuesday opponents in one department.

The Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel combo have been pivotal for DC in the bowling department whereas the lacks of returns from the experienced duo of R Ashwin and Yuzvendra Chahal is one chink in RR’s otherwise all-round game. Delhi’s spinners have claimed 23 wickets at joint-best strike rate of 18.7 and average 25.95 in IPL 2024 whereas RR’s have only 17 in 10 games, and a worrisome average of over 43.

When:Tuesday, May 7 at 19:30 IST

Where:Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi

What to expect:The average first innings score in Delhi has been a staggering 249 and the overall average at this venue has been 236 in IPL 2024. Expect another high-scoring contest with even square boundaries from the center pitch.

Head to Head:It’s 15-13 to RR overall but the tourists only have a 3-5 record at the Feroz Shah Kotla. Royals did win the reverse fixture by 12 runs in Jaipur.

Teams Watch

Delhi Capitals

Injuries & Availability: Head Coach Ricky Ponting confirmed that Ishant Sharma is fit and available for selection tomorrow, and also sounded confident of having David Warner back for the game although a final call on his fitness was to be taken after the team’s pre-match training session on Monday evening.

Tactics & Matchups:Sanju Samson’s consistency has been a big factor in RR’s success this year, but the RR skipper strikes at under 122 against both Kuldeep Yadav and Axar Patel. The DC spn twins have also dismissed the RR captain three times between them, which makes for an interesting match-up.

Probable XI:David Warner, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Abhishek Porel, Rishabh Pant (C, wk), Tristan Stubbs, Shai Hope, Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Khaleel Ahmed, Ishant Sharma, Mukesh Yadav [Impact sub: Rasikh Salam]

Rajasthan Royals

Injuries & Availability: No injury concerns to report from the RR camp.

Tactics & Matchups: All three of Delhi’s top run-getters – Pant, Stubbs and Fraser-McGurk – are averaging under 20 against legspin in IPL 2024. Having produced flashes of brilliance previously, if Chahal can rediscover his rhythm he can break the back of Delhi’s big-hitting middle-order.

Probable XI: Yashasvi Jaiswal, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c, wk), Riyan Parag, Dhruv Jurel, Shimron Hetmyer, Rovman Powell, R Ashwin, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Sharma [Impact sub: Yuzvendra Chahal]

Did you know?

– A six has been hit in every eight legal balls in Delhi in IPL 2024

– A staggering 88.8% of Jake Fraser-McGurk’s runs in IPL 2024 have come in boundaries

– All three games in Delhi this season have been won by teams batting first

What they said:

“We know that we are coming up against a very good Rajasthan side, but we know if we play our best cricket, as we have seen in the tournament so far, if we can play our best cricket for 40 overs, then I’ll guarantee we’ll be hard to beat. It doesn’t matter who we play or where we play them, we know we can beat anybody.” – DC head coach Ricky Ponting

“When you take over the captain’s role, there’s a lot that comes with it… what Sanju [Samson] has learned from the last couple of years is managing all that, managing his time managing his energy, leaning on the senior players in the group. And by balancing all that it’s got the best out of him… It’s been exciting for us as a team to see him get World Cup selection. We’re all delighted for him. He’s playing beautifully and then hopefully he can just keep leading us through the back end of this tournament.: – RR fast-bowling coach Shane Bond.

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