RR vs DC IPL 2021 Preview and Predictions: Rajasthan face well-oiled Delhi without Stokes and Archer
Already dealing with the absence of Jofra Archer, Ben Stokes being ruled out of the entire IPL 2021 due to a broken finger is a huge setback for Rajasthan Royals.
Rabada and Nortje set to be back
Delhi Capitals made a real statement in their first match of IPL 2021 with the way the team trounced Chennai Super Kings by 7 wickets. What made it even more special was that Delhi did it in the absence of their leading pace bowlers Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje who were both undergoing quarantine after having travelled from South Africa midway during a series against Pakistan. The duo is set to be for this match.
The team decided to draft in Tom Curran and Chris Woakes in place of the two Protea pacers. Woakes, in particular, did a fine job, picking up two wickets while conceding just 18 runs from his three overs.
Tom Curran was expensive after younger brother Sam took a liking to him in his last over, but bowled a couple of good overs in the middle.
Delhi also made a surprise move by picking pacer Avesh Khan ahead of Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav. The move paid dividends as Khan finished with figures of 4-0-23-2.
Delhi off to a flier
On the batting front, the Capitals are looking really strong despite the absence of regular captain Shreyas Iyer. Prithvi Shaw made a statement of intent with a 38-ball 72, going at a strike rate of almost 190 after a disappointing IPL 2020 and the tour of Australia.
Shikhar Dhawan, too, is looking in top form and was the Man of the Match in Delhi's encounter against CSK, scoring 85 off 54 deliveries.
Can Samson do an encore
Rajasthan Royals treated fans with a cracker of a match against Punjab Kings as the team fell just four runs short of Punjab's target of 222. Sanju Samson was awarded the Man of the Match despite his team ending up on the losing side.
The wicketkeeper played a fine knock on captaincy debut, smacking 119 off 63 deliveries, including 12 sumptuous boundaries and 7 towering sixes. Had he not been caught right at the boundary off the last ball of the match, Rajasthan would have got over the line.
Stokes out, Livingstone in
A massive setback for Rajasthan is the absence of Ben Stokes who has been ruled out of the tournament due to a broken finger. While Rajasthan are yet to name his replacement, it will certainly affect the balance of the side.
The team is likely to pick Liam Livingstone to bolster their batting in the absence of Stokes. This also means that Buttler probably gets to open the batting for Rajasthan again.
Here are the predicted playing XIs:
Delhi Capitals - Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan
Rajasthan Royals - Manan Vohra, Jos Buttler, Sanju Samson (c & wk), Liam Livingstone, Riyan Parag, Shivam Dube, Rahul Tewatia, Chris Morris, Shreyas Gopal, Chetan Sakariya, Mustafizur Rahman
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