Struggling Delhi face Rajasthan

Struggling Delhi face Rajasthan

Delhi Daredevils will hope Rishabh Pant continues his good form when they meet Rajasthan Royals on Wednesday. AFP

With their sixth loss in eight matches, Delhi Daredevils' bleak chances of making the play-offs have taken a further hit. The bottom-placed team will now be hosting Rajasthan Royals with the hope of keeping themselves in contention in the Indian Premier League on Wednesday.

The defeat against Chennai Super Kings on Monday witnessed another top-order collapse and have left Daredevils with the daunting task of winning all their remaining six matches. However, for the struggling side, four of the six matches are at home and provides them the best opportunity to lift themselves.

Under the new captain Shreyas Iyer, Daredevils had registered a resounding win against Kolkata Knight Riders at home, before Chennai Super Kings brought them back to earth by inflicting a 13-run defeat. Chasing an imperious total of 211/4, Daredevils batting floundered yet again.

Daredevils openers have rarely fired in tandem this season. Under such a scenario, the bulk of the responsibility has invariably fallen on Iyer and Rishabh Pant. With 306 runs, Pant is the highest run-getter for Daredevils and was instrumental in keeping them in hunt against Chennai with brisk 70 off 45. Iyer, too, is not far behind with 257 runs. Together, they have held the middle order and lent stability to the batting.

However, Daredevils needs to find a solution for Glenn Maxwell who hasn’t performed to expectations. In seven matches, he has only 126 and Daredevils certainly need him to show the fireworks he is famed for.

It will also be interesting to see whether an out of form Gautam Gambhir, who relinquished his captaincy, will get another look in.

In bowling, Daredevils have been well served by their three-pronged pace attack of Trent Boult, Avesh Khan and Laim Plunkett. However, it is important that Daredevils strike as a unit against Royals, who have blown hot and cold this season.

In their seven matches, they have had three wins and four defeats and will be eager to maintain their winning record against Daredevils. In their last five meetings, from 2014, Royals have emerged winners each time.

The side is coming from a heart-breaking defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad after they couldn’t chase a modest total of 151/7. For Royals, captain Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson have been the best batsmen but the costly buys like Ben Stokes and Jos Butler have performed below their bargain.

Royals, however, have gained by the presence of seamer Jofra Archer who has claimed six wickets in two matches and with an economy rate of 4.8 in death overs. A win can put Royals back into the race for the play-offs, even as Daredevils go all out to give themselves another chance to stay alive in the edition.