SPORT

Royals looks to inch closer to semis

PEAKING IN TIME: Rajasthan Royals’ Rob Quiney showed good touch up the order against Mumbai Indians.

PEAKING IN TIME: Rajasthan Royals’ Rob Quiney showed good touch up the order against Mumbai Indians.   | Photo Credit: — PHOTO: AFP

Bloemfontein: Boosted by the thrilling victory over Mumbai Indians, defending champion Rajasthan Royals will look to set one foot on a semifinal spot with a win against a wounded Delhi Daredevils in their Indian Premier League match here on Sunday.

Thanks to its two-run win over Mumbai Indians on Thursday, the Shane Warne-led side is on third spot on the table with 13 points and needs a win to nose ahead as five teams chase three semifinal berths.

On the other hand, the Daredevils, which has already made it to the semifinals with 16 points from 11 matches, will not want to find itself on the losing streak ahead of the semifinals as, captain Virender Sehwag said. Delhi’s strong batting line-up crumbled against Brett Lee and Co. of Kings XI Punjab but that may not happen every match.

Warne, who led the team from the front in the victory against Mumbai Indians despite being injured, can bring out something from his old bag of tricks but more than that he will have to inspire his other bowlers if his side wants to restrict Delhi to a low total.

Pacers Kamran Khan and Amit Singh were unavailable but Warne can fall back on Munaf Patel who denied Delhi four runs from the last over by taking one wicket and effecting two run-outs.

Smith needs to fire

In batting department, Rob Quiney’s return to form up the order against Mumbai was an encouraging sign but Graeme Smith’s form remains a big concern and Warne will look towards the South African skipper to fire against Delhi.

Ravindra Jadeja has been the lone spark in Rajasthan’s shaky middle-order while Yusuf Pathan and Naman Ojha have been off-colour in the last few matches.

Delhi batsmen, on the other hand, will seek to rectify their timid show against Kings XI with a not-so-impressive Rajasthan bowling attack giving their opening duo of Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag the ideal chance to get back to form.

Delhi’s bowling still looked impressive, with the likes of Pradeep Sangwan, Rajat Bhatia, Ashish Nehra, Dirk Nannes and Amit Mishra doing decent jobs despite the failure against Kings XI. But, having qualified for the semifinals already, Delhi skipper Sehwag might be tempted to give Glenn McGrath a go against Rajasthan. — PTI

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