DD vs RR preview: Delhi Daredevils look to make most of home stretch

New Delhi | Updated: May 3 2014, 15:48pm hrs
Delhi Daredevils skipper Kevin Pietersen will make his home debut when his side takes on Rajasthan Royals. If ever a team needs a turn around in fortunes, it is Delhi, who lie only one spot above bottom placed Mumbai Indians after five games. The positives for the side, though, are that Pietersen has recovered from his hand injury and seemed to find some touch with an unbeaten 26 in the sides last game, a win over Mumbai.

The bowlers did well to contain Mumbai to 125 and Murali Vijay also found some form with the bat in the game. Also, it will also be the first of the four back-to-back home games for Delhi. Its here that their fate could be decided. Though only two points separate Delhi from Rajasthan, the away team on Saturday have a healthier run rate and sit third.

Duminy, lone bright spot

The South African middle-order batsman JP Duminy has so far been Delhis best batsman. He has scored 173 runs at 86.50 and will once more look to provide the thrust at the end or see them home in the chase. The southpaw will also come in handy against Rajasthans leg spinner Praveen Tambe and left arm orthodox bowler Iqbal Abdulla, who will both bring the ball into him. Add to this his bowling Duminy is Delhis most economical bowler at 6.64 and his value to the side becomes apparent.

New ball worries

Delhi have used their left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem as the new ball bowler in two games. In every game, he just bowled one over and then came in to bowl after the restrictions. On Friday, Dinesh Karthik said that the major reason to have asked Nadeem to bowl upfront was to pose problems for the right handers. Fortunately for Nadeem and Delhi, Royals batting order consists almost exclusively of right handers and the left-arm spinner could be a handy option. However, the fast bowling department is a bit of a worry, especially with Mohammad Shami, the bowler who has sent down the most overs for Delhi, going at nine an over and having picked up just three wickets in five matches so far.

Smith promotion

It is only a matter of time before Rajasthan realise that Steve Smith, dismissed only once this season, deserves to bat up the order for them. Coming in at No. 6, the Australian all-rounder has not faced as many balls as his team would have liked, but has still been effective, having the highest strike rate among the sides batsmen. He is likely to bat above Stuart Binny, giving the batting a more aggressive look up front, coming in after the in-form Ajinky Rahane, Shane Watson and Sanju Samson. His ability to tackle both spin and pace will, of course, be an advantage.

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- Siddhartha Sharma