Rabada has been captain Shreyas Iyer's go-to man all season and is comfortable the leading wicket-taker in the tournament with 25 scalps to his name. With him ruled out, Delhi will definitely face the heat in the playoffs but will hope Trent Boult and Chris Morris will do the job.
"KG (Rabada) had complained of a sore lower back. After our last game in Delhi he felt it went a little worse. A massive loss, but one we think we can cover. We have Trent Boult, who did well last season so he can do the job. Rabada has held the ship up when it came to the death bowling. To have very good death bowlers is important," Ricky Ponting, Delhi's head coach said.
Delhi's net run rate took a solid pounding in the last game against Chennai Super Kings where they went down by 80 runs on a sluggish MA Chidambaram surface. The Feroz Shah Kotla hasn't been kind to them either where the batsmen have found the going tough. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant and Iyer will want to finish their group stage on a high.
The hosts' death bowling suffered against Chennai and that is one area they will certainly look to improve come Saturday.
Rajasthan, on the other hand, are mathematically still alive in the tournament with 11 points from 13 games but they will need a lot of scenarios to go their way if they want to qualify. They need to win against Delhi and hope for favorable results from other remaining games to secure a playoff berth as the fourth team.
With Steve Smith having gone back to Australia for World Cup preparations, Ajinkya Rahane will return to captaincy duties. Ashton Turner is expected to replace Smith in the playing eleven.
The departure of Smith, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes has weakened Rajasthan's batting, putting more responsibility on the shoulders of Rahane, Sanju Samson and Liam Livingstone but the team's bowling unit would be pumped up after leg-spinner Shreyas Gopal's hat-trick in the rain-truncated match against ECB.
Rahane's tenure as captain wasn't great and he was removed from the helm midway through the tournament. He will be keen on proving that he is still a useful leader both with the bat and on the field.
In the last encounter between the two sides, it was Delhi who came out on top in Jaipur by six wickets in a high-scoring affair. Rahane had scored a century then but it wasn't enough as Pant slammed a 36-ball 78* to take his side home.
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Rishabh Pant: Much has been said about Pant's inability to finish matches and his stroke play all through this season. He has scored just two half-centuries in 13 games so far, not ideal for a man of his talent. Having recorded his highest score this season against Rajasthan, Pant will be hoping a repeat of his previous performance.
Shreyas Gopal: The leg-spinner has gotten rid of both Virat Kohli and Ab de Villiers twice each this season. Last game against Bangalore, he bagged a hattrick. There is no doubt in suggesting that Shreyas has been the in-form bowler this season. With a well-disguised wrong'un and leg-break, Shreyas has bamboozled plenty of big names and he will be Rahane's trump card against the big-hitters of Delhi.
Delhi: The hosts might bring in Sandeep Lamicchane for Sherfane Rutherford with the Kotla surface expected to turn.
Rajasthan: Smith has left for Australia and in all likelihood, will be replaced by Turner in the playing eleven.
Rajasthan: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Liam Livingstone, Sanju Samson(w), Ashton Turner, Riyan Parag, Stuart Binny, Mahipal Lomror, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat, Varun Aaron, Oshane Thomas
Delhi: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Colin Ingram, Sherfane Rutherford/Sandeep Lamichhane, Axar Patel, Chris Morris, Jagadeesha Suchith, Amit Mishra, Trent Boult
First Published: May 3, 2019, 8:04 PM IST