New Delhi, Apr 28: After two wins in a row, table toppers Delhi Daredevils would aim to increase the gap at the top of the points table when they take on a inconsistent Rajasthan Royals side in game 39 of IPL 5 at the Ferozshah Kotla in New Delhi on Sunday.
League leader's Daredevils have won six games out of eight matches to go three points clear at the top of the table with 12. Delhi skipper Virender Sehwag led Daredevils to two comprehensive victories over Pune Warriors and Mumbai Indians. Sehwag's match-winning knock of 87 helped Delhi beat Pune by eight wickets while Mumbai were thrashed by 37 runs after chasing a mammoth target of 208 on Friday.
Chasing in seven games, Daredevils batsmen have been consistent after losing just two games in the tournament. Sehwag became the third batsman to score three consecutive fifties in IPL history, with a total of 309 runs at an average of 44.14.
Kevin Pietersen averages a whopping 88.00 in six games and Mahela Jayawardene scored his first in IPL 5. Although the top-order has fired for Delhi, the middle-order batsmen have not had sufficient time at the centre. New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor is yet to make a significant contribution while Naman Ojha and youngster Yogesh Nagar have been batting in bits.
On the bowling front, Daredevils pacer Morne Morkel has been impressive leading the wickets sheet with 17 this season. Left-arm spin sensation Shahbaz Nadeem has claimed a total of eight wickets with an economy rate just above six an over.
Despite a good start to the season, Rajasthan Royals have slumped in two back-to-back games losing to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings.
The Royals have earned eight points with a 50 % winning ratio in eight games.
Their top-order batsmen, skipper Rahul Dravid, orange-cap holder Ajinkya Rahane and Owais Shah have been playing a vital role so far. Middle-order batsmen Brad Hodge and Ashok Menaria have not been able to strike big so far.
All-rounder Johan Botha has so far been poor with the bat and bowl. Apart from the batsmen, Rajasthan bowler Kevon Cooper leads with a total of ten wickets. Veteran Brad Hogg's has been an inspiration for young Royal bowlers but have failed to make any immediate impact on the side except pacer Siddharth Trivedi.
Having lost just one game at home, Sehwag and Co are favourites against an inconsistent Royals who have lost three out of four away from home.
Rajasthan are fifth in the points table with eight points going in to this game, but an upset win over Delhi looks unlikely considering their impressive all-round performance in IPL 5.
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (captain), Mahela Jaywaredene (vice-captain), Naman Ojha (wicket-keeper), Kevin Pietersen, Ross Taylor, Y Venugopal Rao, Yogesh Nagar, Irfan Pathan, Roelof van der Merwe, Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Shahbaz Nadeem, Andre Russell, Aaron Finch, Doug Bracewell, Ajit Agarkar, Varun Aaron, Aavishkar Salvi, Robin Bist, Sunny Gupta, Pawan Negi, Punit Bisht (wicket-keeper).
Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Shreevats Goswami (wicketkeeper), Owais Shah, Ashok Menaria, Johan Botha, Kevon Cooper, Ankeet Chavan, Brad Hogg, Amit Singh, Siddharth Trivedi, Aakash Chopra, Abhishek Raut, Aditya Dole, Ajit Chandalia, Amit Paunikar, Amit Singh, Deepak Chahar, Dishant Yagnik, Faiz Fazal, Gajendra Singh, Pankaj Singh, Sreesanth, Samad Fallah, Stuart Binny, Sumit Narwal, Brad Hodge, Dinesh Chandimal and Paul Collingwood.