New Delhi: After getting off with a loss in the season-opener, Delhi Daredevils would like to put up a better show when they take on an inexperienced Rajasthan Royals here on Saturday.
Already marred with injuries in the form of Kevin Pietersen, abd Jesse Ryder , Delhi's middle order has been weakened and this was exposed in the last match against Kolkata Knight Riders. But the continued absence of Virender Sehwag, who missed the last match due to back spasms, will deprive Delhi of a major batsman.
At the Eden Gardens, it was Delhi's middle order that flopped and failed to cash on the start provided by Mahela Jayawardene and David Warner after opting to bat first. Moreover, the experiment of playing Manprit Juneja in place of the experienced Venugopal Rao didn't work out and Delhi should think of undoing that in this match.
Delhi's bowling in absence of Morne Morkel looks balanced with a three-pronged pace attack of Ashish Nehra, Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav. The spin department will be taken care of by left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and Johan Botha.
Rajasthan, after a dream start in the 2008 season, haven't made any significant impression in the later editions and finished bottom of the table. This time around they need to build momentum.
Under Rahul Dravid, the youngsters would be fired to do better for the bidding veteran and the team. The presence of Shane Watson in the camp can do wonders, but the opener will be joining the team from the second match. Rajasthan would be expecting a lot from Ajinkya Rahane who in the last season amassed 560 runs which also included a century from 16 matches.
Most likely, Dravid will again open with Rahane and the responsibility of the middle order will be shouldered by T20 veterans Brad Hodge and Owais Shah. Rajasthan have a decent bunch of Indian domestic players like Ashok Menaria, Stuart Binny and Dishant Yagnik and their role will matter a lot.
But on the bowling front, the signing of Fidel Edwards gives Rajasthan an alternative in place of Shaun Tait and a fit-again Sreesanth and Sidharth Trivedi can boost the attack. It would be interesting to see, if Rajasthan decide to blood young spinner Harmeet Singh early in the tournament and if not then they have Sunil Badree, Ankeet Chavan and Ajit Chandela.
Going into the match, Delhi have the upper hand against Rajasthan with six wins and four losses out of 10 matches played against each other.
Delhi Daredevils: 1 Unmukt Chand, 2 David Warner, 3 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 4 Venugopal Rao, 5 Naman Ojha (wk), 6 Andre Russell, 7 Irfan Pathan, 8 Johan Botha, 9 Ashish Nehra, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Shahbaz Nadeem
Rajasthan Royals: 1 Rahul Dravid (capt), 2 Ajinkya Rahane, 3 Brad Hodge, 4 James Faulkner, 5 Owais Shah, 6 Stuart Binny, 7 Sreevats Goswami (wk), 8 S Sreesanth, 9 Siddharth Trivedi, 10 Harmeet Singh, 11 Brad Hogg/Fidel Edwards