Ed Hawkins previews the clash from Jaipur on Monday and is hoping Jofra Archer can find form with the ball...
"For their game against Mumbai Indians we betted Archer to boost 31.5 performance points. It wasn’t a winner. But we have to keep faith with England’s potential World Cup star"
Rajasthan Royals v Delhi Capitals
Monday 22 April, 15:30
TV: live on BT Sport
All change at Rajasthan. Ajinkya Rahane has been sacked as captain with Steve Smith taking over. An interesting move considering Smith will not be available for the play-offs (or indeed their final group match) if they were to make it. This will also be the last match for Ben Stokes and Jofra Archer before they depart for England duty.
They didn't appear to be a team in a state of flux against Mumbai Indians last time out. They did the double over the title fancies with an easy win.
Royals bowled okay to keep them to 161, which is probably a decent score on the Jaipur surface, but made light work of the chase. This was particularly surprising because they had to leave out Buttler. Buttler has departed early to be present for the birth of his child.
Riyan Parag blitzed Mumbai with a middle-order strongarm show and Sanju Samson was dangerous. Rahane, back in the opening berth at the expense of Rahul Tripathi, was too slow again, though.
Jaydev Unadkat, despite Archer and Shreyas Gopal doing excellent work, is a liability. But Stuart Binny has given them more control.
Capitals still collapsing
Delhi Capitals busted their Feroz Shah Kotla jinx with a success over Kings XI last time but they may not find the Jaipur strip too different to the home track which has stifled their creativity.
Set 165 to win against Kings XI, Delhi went off like a rocket, slowed down and then had a wobble. It's the way they chase it would seem. They did that against Mumbai but failed to recover. Had Colin Ingram not smashed 19 from nine they might not have got over the line.
Sandeep Lamichhane is back in the team and he took three wickets. We still don't know why he's not one of the first names on the team sheet. It might also be smart to bring back Chris Morris instead of Sherfane Rutherford. Morris is reliable with bat and ball in this format. At the moment, Rutherford doesn't have the same class.
The first innings scores at the venue this season are: 161-151-139-158-184. Not surprisingly the average score there is not high at 157. There's also a toss bias off 66% for the chaser. That could well be the deciding factor for punters who may be a little concerned about getting involved with two such flaky teams.
Hosts can give good account
Is 'flaky' a harsh description for a Delhi team placed third? Possibly but their consistent batting collapses are hard to forget. There will be some who are still having nightmares about their implosions against Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI in the first meeting.
Certainly the 1.845/6 doesn't have us jumping up and down here, particularly if they have to defend. Rajasthan have had their issues this term but it is possible Smith will get them to play smarter cricket than Rahane. There have been worse 2.1211/10 shots.
Buttler is 21/10 (Sportsbook) to sign off with a top-bat effort for Royals but he definitely won't play. Samson is 13/5. Shreyas Iyer is the 13/5 favourite. Shikhar Dhawan is rather surprisingly out at 16/5. Rish Pant is between the two at 11/4. We like Pant but we're not sure he thrives on slow wickets, as evidenced by his struggles at home this term.
For their game against Mumbai Indians we betted Archer to boost 31.5 performance points. It wasn't a winner. But we have to keep faith with England's potential World Cup star. The chief reason for that being that Sportsbook have boosted his top Royals bowler price to 10/3. In terms of percentage points that's four ticks in our favour and although we rate Gopal, he is no way a 2/1 jolly given how often he cops.
For Delhi, Kagiso Rabada is one of the shortest top-bowler prices we've ever seen at 6/4. It's too skinny on franchise form and, as ever, Lamichhane is a perfectly acceptable value alternative at 7/2.