Clobbered in their lung-opener, Delhi Daredevils will have to get their act together pretty quickly as they take on a determined Rajasthan Royals in their second match of the Indian Premier League on Tuesday.
Led by wily spin legend Shane Warne, Rajasthan, who were the inaugural IPL champions, have made a good start to their campaign beating Deccan Chargers in their opening match.
All set for their first home game of the event at the Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Rajasthan would undoubtedly be on a high after the comprehensive seven-wicket win in their tournament-opener.
From the inaugural edition itself, Rajasthan have never quite had the star-power to be rated among the favourites but in Warne, they have the master strategist to get the most out of the limited talent at their disposal.
This time, Rajasthan also have the experience of veteran Indian batsman Rahul Dravid, who may not be the most sought after of Twenty20 players, but lends the line-up the kind of stability that is essential in the face of any sudden collapse.
Not to mention, his experience of having captained the Indian national team makes Dravid the ideal go-to man for Warne when things get too difficult to handle for the Aussie.
In New Zealand swashbuckler Ross Taylor, Rajasthan have the game-changer, who at his destructive best, can simply bat the opposition out of the match.
Imposing Kiwi all-rounder Jacob Oram is another player, who has the ability the turn the game on its head both with the bat and ball, not to forget the athleticism he brings to the team’s ground fielding.
South African Johan Botha adds more weight to their batting, making Rajasthan a team to be feared given how Warne manages to get the best out of the domestic talent that he has.
On the bowling front, Warne himself remains quite a force despite being out of international cricket for quite some time now.
The fast bowling attack may not seem too impressive but Siddharth Trivedi and Amit Singh’s medium pace came in handy in the match against Deccan in which they shared five wickets between them.
Delhi, on the other hand, crashed rather badly in their opening match against Mumbai Indians.
Without the likes of Gautam Gambhir and Paul Collingwood this season, Delhi’s batting relies heavily on skipper Virender Sehwag and the destructive-but-inconsistent Aussie David Warner.
Both of them flopped in the opening match and the result was a collapse with just 95 on the board after their 20 overs. Sehwag and Warner will have to strike form quickly as no other name in the Delhi line-up can be expected to cause much fear in the opposition camp.
Their bowling too has been left depleted without the leg-spin of experienced campaigner Daniel Vettori and the pace of Dirk Nannes.
Irfan Pathan, for whom this IPL is perhaps the final shot at making an impact for a national comeback, hardly looked threatening in the opening match but would be expected to come good in the coming games.
In-form South African pacer Morne Morkel needs the back-up to make an impact and it has to come from Pathan, who was bought for an astronomical USD 1.9 million by the franchise.
A man-to-man comparison makes Rajasthan favourites and it would be quite a task for Sehwag to out-maneuver the smart-thinking Warne.
Rajasthan Royals: Shane Warne (c), Amit Singh, Swapnil Asnodkar, Stuart Binny, Johan Botha, Deepak Chahar, Ankeet Chavan, Aakash Chopra, Aditya Dole, Nayan Doshi, Rahul Dravid, Samad Fallah, Faiz Fazal, Ashok Menaria, Sumit Narwal, Jacob Oram, Pankaj Singh, Amit Paunikar, Ajinkya Rahane, Abhishek Raut, Dinesh Salunkhe, Pinal Shah, Shaun Tait, Ross Taylor, Siddharth Trivedi, Shane Watson, Harendra Yagnik.
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (c), Varun Aaron, Ajit Agarkar, Travis Birt, Robin Bist, Unmukt Chand, Ajit Chandila, Ashok Dinda, Aaron Finch, Robert Frylinck, James Hopes, Colin Ingram, Andrew McDonald, Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Yogesh Nagar, Prashant Naik, Naman Ojha, Irfan Pathan, Rajesh Pawar, Aavishkar Salvi, Sridharan Sriram, Roelof van der Merwe, Venugopal Rao, Vikas Mishra, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Tejashwi Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Vivek Yadav.