In IPL 2022, teams batting second have been more successful until now, winning 18 and losing 14 matches. The only team that has defied this trend is Rajasthan Royals. All four of their wins have come while batting first, with Jos Buttler and Shimron Hetmyer helping them post above-par totals. Buttler scored hundreds in two of those wins, and has an overall tally of 375 runs at an average of 75.00 and a strike rate of 156.90.
If Buttler has been the power-anchor, Hetmyer has ensured Royals have finished their innings with a crescendo. Among those who have scored at least 200 runs this season, Hetmyer’s strike rate of 179.83 is the third-highest. Together, the two have scored more than 57% of Royals’ total runs.
Yuzvendra Chahal has been their enforcer with the ball, taking a wicket every ninth ball. He has been well-supported by R Ashwin, who might have picked up only two wickets to Chahal’s 17 but has kept the lid on the scoring rate. With Obed McCoy impressing in the last game, Royals now have the option of using Trent Boult exclusively as a new-ball bowler.
A handsome win on Friday could enable Royals to replace Gujarat Titans at the top of the points table. Looking to stop them will be Delhi Capitals. Despite being hit by Covid-19, Capitals will be high on confidence after demolishing Punjab Kings in their last game, even if they currently occupy the bottom half of the table with three wins in six games.
In Prithvi Shaw and David Warner and Prithvi Shaw, they have arguably the most destructive and in-form opening pair in the tournament. But their batting tapers off after that. Rishabh Pant has played a couple of cameos but Rovman Powell’s form is a serious concern. In five innings, Powell has scored only 31 runs, at an average of 6.20 and a strike rate of 100.00.
When it comes to bowling, left has been right for Capitals. Their left-arm seamers (Khaleel Ahmed and Mustafizur Rahman) and left-arm spinners (Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav) have held sway over oppositions.
This match was originally scheduled to be played in Pune, but after six members of Capitals’ contingent tested positive for Covid-19, the game was moved to the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.