Rajasthan Royals eyeing semifinal spot

May 16th, 2009 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Sachin Tendulkar Bloemfontein, May 16 (IANS) Defending champions Rajasthan Royals would be hoping to take a step closer to a semi-final spot when they meet table toppers Delhi Daredevils in the second edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) here Sunday.
Delhi with 8 wins from 11 matches have consolidated their lead in the points table with 16 points and their entry in the semi-final is almost assured. Rajasthan are placed third with 13 points from 12 matches.

A win will give Rajasthan Royals a safe lead among the contenders for the last four stage. The team is fresh from their thrilling two run win over Mumbai Indians in their last match and needless to say will enter the Sunday’s clash high on confidence.

The team under their charismatic captain Shane Warne have played like a close-knit unit. Warne defied medical advice to play with a pulled hamstring against Mumbai Indians and admitted his old rivalry with Mumbai captain Sachin Tendulkar tempted him to participate. Well, the Australian might have won the contest of stalwarts Thursday, picking Tendulkar in his impressive two-wicket haul but it is to be seen whether he will make himself available for the rest of the matches.

Rajasthan still need to be more consistent in their batting to make up for not so strong bowling attack. To win, Graeme Smith, Swapnil Asnodkar, Yusuf Pathan, and Naman Ojha all need to score with Delhi having much more depth in their batting line-up, starting with captain Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Tillakratne Dilshan and AB de Villiers.

Delhi’s bowling attack is equally potent and though the side lost to Kings XI Punjab in their last match, the fact that they succeeded in bringing the match to the wire while defending a low total only show its effectiveness.

There is also no dearth of options for Delhi, with bowlers like Glenn McGrath still waiting for their turn. Ferveez Mahroof played his first match against Kings XI Punjab.

For Rajasthan, Siddharth Trivedi and Johan Botha produced quality spells and with Warne and Pathan at the other end added variety to the attack.

However, what gives Rajasthan a slight edge is that they had won the solitary encounter with Delhi in this edition by five wickets.

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