Cricket

IPL 2021 | Depleted Royals take on upbeat Capitals

Power centres: While Dhawan and Shaw provide bright spark at the top of the order for Capitals, Royals will look for a defining contribution from Buttler.  

Misfortunes rarely come alone. Ask Rajasthan Royals.

After bowling-spearhead Jofra Archer suffered a freak injury to his hand in the bathroom, forcing him to miss the initial stage of the IPL, Royals has lost the services of all-rounder Ben Stokes, who broke his finger during the defeat to Punjab Kings on Monday and is out of the tournament.

Fortune certainly didn’t favour Royals in that high-scoring encounter, despite a brave innings from its new skipper Sanju Samson (119 off 63 balls). How he would have wished if he could connect that last ball better and sent it a few yards further.

Samson though needs to put that innings, as well as the trying circumstances, behind him when he returns to the middle at Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium on Thursday for the toss against confident Delhi Capitals. Facing him at the toss will be Rishabh Pant, with whom he had been in competition for the Indian T20 team’s wicketkeeper slot before the latter grew astonishingly in stature over the last four months.

Against Chennai Super Kings, Pant’s exceptional skills with the bat weren’t fully required, as openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan had more or less secured the victory with their 138-run stand.

Seamers Chris Woakes and Avesh Khan impressed with the ball though Pant may want more from his spinners R. Ashwin and Amit Mishra. As for the Royals’ bowling, there is definitely room for improvement; only debutant left-arm seamer Chetan Sakariya could make an impact against Punjab. More is expected from the likes of Chris Morris and Shreyas Gopal.

Big boots

Royals, even as they hope Samson and Jos Buttler would explode, will also need someone to fill the big boots of Stokes. David Miller and Liam Livingstone look good choices.

And Royals may not mind some good fortune.

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Printable version | May 11, 2021 4:56:12 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/ipl-2021-depleted-royals-take-on-upbeat-capitals/article34320687.ece

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