Mumbai: Yuzvendra Chahal’s bagful of tricks will meet its perfect match in Kuldeep Yadav’s guile as the two wrist spinners are expected to dictate the narrative when Rajasthan Royals clash with Delhi Capitals in an IPL match, on Friday.
With current ‘Orange Cap’ holder in Jos Buttler (375 runs) and ‘Purple Cap’ holder Chahal (17 wickets) in their ranks, Royals are a team that is looking pretty formidable at the moment even with a dysfunctional middle-order, save Shimron Hetmyer.
On the other hand, resurgent Capitals are battling the agony that comes with a mini COVID-19 outbreak in the camp but are still trying to put their best foot forward to stay afloat.
In this backdrop, the two wrist-spinners, who are currently dominating the bowling charts will be itching to show their wares with Kuldeep (13 wickets at No. 2) expected to pose some questions for in-form Buttler in case there is a match-up.
For Delhi, Kuldeep along with Axar Patel and Lalit Yadav would like to stem the run-flow but stopping Buttler will be on top of their agenda on a Wankhede track that is expected to be good for batting.
For Chahal, how he varies the pace against a rampaging David Warner or the ever-attacking Prithvi Shaw and skipper Rishabh Pant will be a delight for the fans.
In the past five years, life has come to a full circle for ‘Kul-Cha’ who were the ‘taste’ of the nation between 2017 and 2019 when wrist spinners were in vogue during the Ravi Shastri-Virat Kohli era.
While Chahal got a body blow after being dropped from the last T20 World Cup squad and was sporadically picked in white ball formats, Kuldeep also lost his way.
He got very little support from either erstwhile national team management or his previous IPL team (KKR) and also endured a career-threatening knee injury.
But now the smile is back and so is the guile. The left-arm wrist spinner’s googly — the one that turns away from right-hander — is back and so is the conventional left-arm leg-break which comes into the right-hander.
However in these kind of games, the support cast becomes more important as they can create those little game-changing moments that impact the final outcome of the game.
Mustafizur Rahaman’s cutters and Khaleel Ahmed’s clever change of pace could also trouble the likes of Sanju Samson and Riyan Parag.
Similarly, if Trent Boult gets one to tail in first-up, Shaw’s response and technique will be tested in earnest.
But Royals have now got a calm death bowler in West Indies’ Obed McCoy, who was brilliant while bowling the final over against KKR.
McCoy, who made his IPL debut in the last game, is tall and looked like using his height to a good advantage to create awkward angles and length for the Delhi batters.
If middle-order non-performance is an issue for Royals, the DC doesn’t seem to have found the second Indian batter in that middle-order slot apart from skipper Pant, who can take the bowling apart.
Mandeep Singh was a massive failure against genuine quick bowling but Sarfaraz Khan is trying to play himself in.
Rovman Powell till now has failed to show his destructive self and these are the players, who need to push the envelope when it comes to maintaining the momentum.
Match Starts at 7:30pm.