Rajasthan Royals vs Delhi Capitals, Sharjah
Pro Tip: Pack your teams with top-order batsmen from both sides and good death bowlers.
Our XI: Jos Buttler, Prithvi Shaw, Steven Smith, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant, Marcus Stoinis, Kartik Tyagi, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Jofra Archer
Substitutes: Shikhar Dhawan, Mahipal Lomror, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Player availability: Ben Stokes is still in quarantine and is expected to return only in time for the Royals’ next game.
Captain: Shreyas Iyer
Iyer has scored 181 runs in five innings so far and will have fond memories from the last time he played in Sharjah, when he had scored a 38-ball 88 not out against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The conditions really suit his style of play of hitting through the line and given his form, he should succeed again.
Vice-captain: Jos Buttler
Buttler is coming off an authoritative 70 off 44 balls against the Mumbai Indians, and should enjoy a small ground and a batting-friendly pitch. Buttler likes the Delhi Capitals’ attack as well: he has scored 96 runs in two innings against them since 2018 at a strike rate of 218.18.
Rishabh Pant: Pant has been getting starts consistently but hasn’t gone on to make a big score yet. The Sharjah pitch and the ground conditions are ideal for him to help change that. Since 2018, Pant strikes at 152.37 and averages 59.93 in the middle overs in the IPL. We are backing him to replicate that.
Sanju Samson: Samson played two extraordinary innings to start off the tournament but has dipped after that. He will be eager to find some form and help the Royals’ top order get going again. He made 74 and 85 in the two innings he has played in Sharjah so far.
Marcus Stoinis: In Stoinis, the Capitals have found a big-hitter in the middle order, a finisher and someone who can bowl a few overs as well. He has been aggressive, scoring 123 runs at a strike rate of 198.38. Both his half-centuries so far have also come in the bigger grounds, so we can expect him to show similar form with the shorter boundaries in Sharjah.
Kartik Tyagi: Tyagi made his debut in the last game and almost immediately showed his potential. He is quick and swings the ball both ways, and beat Quinton De Kock for pace on his way to returns of 1 for 36.
Anrich Nortje: Nortje has provided excellent starts with the new ball and has also finished things off well at the death. He has been very good up top in this IPL too with an economy of 6.40, a dot-ball percentage of 58.33 and three wickets.
Across all four games in Sharjah so far, a batsman from the team batting first has been the top scorer probably because of the lack of scoreboard pressure. Hence, the captain and vice-captain can be interchanged if the Royals bat first.
Pacers in Sharjah so far this tournament have gone at 10.43 runs an over and have picked up 34 wickets, while spinners have been taken at 10.49 and picked up only ten wickets. If you want a spinner in your side, Shreyas Gopal is an option for Kartik Tyagi.
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