Baidurjo and Arnab: That is all from here guys. We will join you guys with the LIVE blog of the match in 30 minutes from now. See you soon :)
Baidurjo: RPS Likely Playing XI: Ajinkya Rahane, Faf du Plessis, Steven Smith, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, Manoj Tiwary, Rajat Bhatia, Shardul Thakur, Rahul Chahar, Imran Tahir, Ishwar Pandey
Arnab: I definitely wish to see Corey Anderson come in for Brathwaite. So here goes my likely XI.
DD: Likely Playing XI: Aditya Tare, Sam Billings, Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant (wk), Chris Morris, Corey Anderson, Pat Cummins, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Zaheer Khan
Baidurjo: Yes, Tiwary's form is indeed a welcome sign for all the ill-luck that has seen him miss out important games and seasons in the past due to ill-timed injuries. Let us now look at the likely playing XI for the two teams. Arnab, why don't you give us the XI for Delhi?
Arnab: While Dhoni's form is a worry, Manoj Tiwary's return to form definitely augurs well for the team. Along with Ben Stokes, Tiwary played a quality knock in Indore. He has been in terrific form in the domestic season for Bengal and this is a welcome sign for Pune. He scored at a brisk rate in the last game, hitting an unbeaten 40 off just 23 balls. Smith will be hoping that he continues his run in this game as well.
Baidurjo: Pune also have their own concerns with former skipper MS Dhoni looking out of sorts. MS Dhoni has 3 three single digit scores in his last 6 innings for RPS. Also, Harsh Goenka's tweet after the first game where he once again took a dig at MSD and supported Sanjiv Goenka for appointing Steven Smith as skipper did not go down well with the fans.
In fact, Dhoni's wife Sakshi also posted a photo on Instagram where she is seen wearing a Chennai Super Kings helmet and the caption reads: #throwback!
Clearly all is not hunky-dory between Dhoni and the Pune owner. But then, MSD is a thorough professional and he will be back in form sooner than later.
Arnab: Delhi are surely missing their star all-rounder in JP Duminy. As mentor Rahul Dravid told you in the interview you did with him at the start of the season, it is not easy to replace players like Duminy and Quinton De Kock overnight. They are international stars who not only are star players, but also help pep up the dressing room on lean days and when the confidence is low.
Baidurjo: Interestingly, JP Duminy has wished his team luck. Even though he pulled out of this year's IPL due to personal reasons, he is definitely keeping an eye on the action.
Arnab: While I cannot agree with you more that just like Delhi have a weak batting, Pune have a weak bowling. But, just to jog the mind of the viewers, Dinda has managed to pick 12 wickets against Delhi in the IPL. Can this be the match where Dinda returns to old form? He has looked slightly off colour, but then, he is an experienced campaigner and knows what it takes to rise to the occasion.
Baidurjo: While Delhi need batsmen who can contribute, Pune need bowlers who can pick wickets. Does that mean both teams are on an equal plane here? After all, Tahir has been the only bowler who has threatened the opposition. Ashoke Dinda and Daniel Christian have cut sorry figures and even the otherwise economical Rajat Bhatia leaked runs in the game against KXIP. He gave away 20 runs from his 2 overs.
Arnab: Yes, Pant was a revelation in the last game. He deserves all the praise. But right now, Delhi need players who can support him. And I think that is where the team could do with an all-rounder like Corey Anderson instead of a Carlos Brathwaite. Brathwaite has been found out and all teams will now look to use finger spinners to dismiss him. He just cannot seem to play spin. Also, Anderson brings in value with the ball. After all, Brathwaite gave away 29 runs from his 2 overs against RCB.
Baidurjo: Brilliant point there Arnab. Apart from Rishabh Pant, who played a brilliant knock of 57 off 36 balls, none of the batsmen managed to get noticed. Coming back after cremating his father, Pant showed great character. While it is still too early to compare him to India skipper Virat Kohli, who also batted for Delhi in a Ranji game after cremating his father, Pant does ooze confidence and a mature head on his shoulder.
Arnab: But then, I think that more than the bowling, it is Delhi's batting that has been their biggest worry and the man who heads that list is Karun Nair. Having played really well over the last year, he has somehow looked out of sorts after the triple hundred against England. His last 12 innings post that knock has seen him score 14, 12, 28, 7, 14, 12, 4, 26, 0, 23, 5 and 4. He needs to get cracking, as do the other domestic batsmen like Sanju Samson and Aditya Tare.
Baidurjo: Interestingly, the same Rahane who has run riot against Delhi has been Amit Mishra's bunny. He has been dimissed thrice by the leg-spinner over the years and has a strike-rate of just 123.18 against the wily spinner. Same goes for one of India's favourite sons MS Dhoni. He has been dismissed seven times by Delhi skipper Zaheer Khan. But, MSD also has a strike-rate of 176.19 against the pacer.
Arnab: WOW! Those are some numbers. The stats are heavily in favour of Pune. Also, one cannot forget that Imran Tahir, Pune's best bowler so far with 5 wickets in the season, was released by none other than Delhi ahead of this season. He is a match-winner and there is no doubt that he will trouble the already wary Daredevils batting line-up.
Baidurjo: Yes, getting back to winning ways is a must for both teams. But first, let us take a look at a couple of numbers. Delhi and Pune have played each other twice so far and Pune have won both the games. Interestingly, Ajinkya Rahane is up against his favourite opponent, Delhi Daredevils. Rahane has scored 622 runs in 13 matches against DD.
Also, Rahane's batting average of 77.75 against Delhi Daredevils is the best by any batsman against Delhi. He has scored 6 fifties in 13 innings against Delhi Daredevils – the joint most fifties by a batsman against Delhi along with RCB's Virat Kohli. In his last 5 innings against this opponent, Rahane remained not out 3 times and scored 40 plus on each occasion inclusive of 3 fifties.
Arnab: Yes Baidurjo, you got that spot on. Pune and Delhi need to get to winning ways here. While Pune started well against Mumbai before losing to Kings XI Punjab, Delhi once again started their campaign on a losing note. More importantly, it was a game that was there for the taking and even then, Delhi crumbled under pressure at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Hi! I am Baidurjo, cricket correspondent with Cricketnext, and I have with me Arnab, editor of Cricketnext. Today we have decided to bat for both Delhi and Pune rather than debating on who is the better team. Both teams need to up their game :)