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IPL 7: Beleaguered Delhi look to redeem pride against Rajasthan

IPL 7: Beleaguered Delhi look to redeem pride against Rajasthan

Out of playoffs contention, Delhi will be playing for pride against Rajasthan, who will look to consolidate their top-four position in the points table.

An out-of-sorts Delhi Daredevils will be playing for pride when they take on Rajasthan Royals, who will look to consolidate their top-four spot in the points table on Thursday.

Delhi are staring down the barrel after losing all five matches since the tournament returned to India and now they can only play the party-poopers for teams that are fighting hard to stay in contention for the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Rajasthan are placed third in the table with 12 points, but they cannot take their place in the top-four for granted as a close battle is on to qualify for the knockouts.

Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders are all still in the fray; hence, Rajasthan will like to strengthen their position by defeating a struggling Delhi at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Rajasthan is one team where different match winners have emerged consistently over the seasons. Unheralded players have made solid contributions and the trend is likely to continue.

It will be interesting to see if skipper Shane Watson keeps the opening slot for him after a successful experiment in the last match against the table-toppers Chennai Super Kings.

Ankit Sharma too was impressive against Chennai with both bat and ball, but Rajasthan will surely think of bringing Sanju Samson back after the wicketkeeper-batsman was dropped in the previous game against Chennai. The Australian duo of Steve Smith and James Faulkner, after their miraculous batting effort against Bangalore, will be expected to do an encore if required.

In bowling, Rajasthan now have a start in 42-year-old legspinner Pravin Tambe, who has been in sparkling form. Kane Richardson, Rajat Bhatia and Watson have also been consistently among the wickets, which makes Rajasthan a strongly knit bowling unit as well.

On the other hand, nothing is clicking for Delhi and in the last match they were at the receiving end of Yuvraj Singh's stunning return to form as well as the fury of AB De Villiers.

Delhi need to ensure that both batting and bowling click together for them if they want to salvage some honour in the rest of their campaign. One factor which may work for Delhi is the presence of their calm skipper Kevin Pietersen, who keeps encouraging his players in hard times, though he would love to end his bad patch and lead from the front.

Quinton de Kock has failed to play to his potential, while JP Duminy is the only Delhi batsman who has stood tall among Delhi's batting ruins.

The patchy and unimpressive performance of the Delhi bowlers, including Mohammad Shami, Wayne Parnell, Siddharth Kaul and Shahbaz Nadeem, has also not helped their cause either. And their task will only get tougher on Thursday against the in-form Rajasthan batsmen.