Steve Smith led from the front as he returned to captain Rajasthan Royals in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019 match against Mumbai Indians in Jaipur on Saturday. "Ajinkya has done a terrific job in the last one and a half year and the team management thinks there's a need for a change. I have done a bit of leadership in the IPL with a bit of success, hopefully I can lead the team well. Plenty of games coming up in the next few days," Steve Smith said at the toss. Skipper Steve Smith scored an unbeaten half-century as Rajasthan Royals registered a convincing five-wicket win over Mumbai Indians.
A rejuvenated Rajasthan Royals will look to maintain a winning momentum when they host Delhi Capitals on Monday.
Delhi Capitals have been doing better at away games rather than at their home ground but Saturday night they managed to reverse that at the Feroz Shah Kotla ground with a five-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab, helping them remain on third spot in the points table.
However, Rajasthan would be a bit more desperate than Delhi as they are languishing at the second last position in the points table with just three wins from nine outings.
Rajasthan would look to continue to capitalise on their home advantage under new captain Smith. But they would certainly miss their prolific opener Jos Buttler. Anjikya Rahane, who has been struggling with his form and also seemed to be out of ideas, was eventually stripped of captaincy and next he might also lose his opening slot to Rahul Tripathi.
Tripathi was impressive during his 45-ball fifty against Kings XI Punjab, while Rahane was too slow in his 21-ball 26 as Rajasthan failed to chase down 182, finishing at 170/7.
With Smith back in form, having almost recovered from his elbow injury, and the youngsters like Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag coming good with the bat, Rajasthan would fancy their chances. Though their bowling still remains a worry in death overs.
Except Jofra Archer and leg spinner Shreyas Gopal, none of the bowlers have been consistent.
Delhi Capitals have a solid batting line up with a blend of experience and youth.
Senior opener Shikhar Dhawan laid the foundation with a fluent 56 of 41 balls and skipper Shreyas Iyer contributed with an unbeaten 58 off 49 balls to win their last game.
With Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw at the top and the likes of Rishabh Pant, Iyer and Colin Ingram to follow, Delhi would start as a confident batting unit.
Down the order, even Axar Patel is capable of accelerating the run-rate.
As far as bowling is concerned, Delhi Capitals heavily depend on Kagiso Rabada although they have variety in medium pacers Ishant Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane and spinners Amit Mishra and Axar Patel.
Another victory for Delhi will brightening their chances of making the play-offs and they would leave no stone unturned to achieve a win against the home side.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (c), Sanju Samson, Ben Stokes, Shubham Ranjane, Ashton Turner, Steve Smith, Stuart Binny, Shreyas Gopal, Sudhesan Midhun, Jaydev Unadkat, Ish Sodhi, Prashant Chopra, Mahipal Lomror, Oshane Thomas, Aryaman Birla, Riyan Parag, Dhawal Kulkarni, Jofra Archer, Krishnappa Gowtham, Liam Livingstone, Varun Aaron, Jos Buttler, Shahshank Singh, Manan Vohra, Rahul Tripathi
Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer (c), Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant (WK), Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Jalaj Saxena, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa, Colin Munro, Manjot Kalra
Match starts at 8pm.
(With PTI inputs)