He will undoubtedly look to outfox Pant with his bag of tricks.

The Delhi Capitals (DC) will face the Rajasthan Royals (RR) in game 34 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Friday. Both Delhi and Rajasthan are two of the in-form sides of the tournament. Delhi may be sixth in the points table for now, but have won two of their last three matches. Rajasthan are in the top three, having won four and lost two of their six matches. In their previous game, the Capitals clobbered the Punjab Kings (PBKS) by nine wickets. The bowlers rolled over PBKS cheaply and the openers then raced to the target. The Royals got the better of a spirited Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by seven runs. Defending 217, they got home courtesy Yuzvendra Chahal’s brilliance. Here are five player battles in DC vs RR clash.

1. David Warner vs Trent Boult: The two big names of international cricket will come face to face when RR face DC. David Warner has been in terrific form for Delhi even as their graph has gone up and down.  Since that labored four in his first match of IPL 2022 against the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG), he has registered scores of 61, 66 and 60 not out. It wouldn’t be wrong to say that stopping him has been next to impossible. There is only one way Warner knows to bat, and he will look to come out firing on all cylinders. RR left-arm seamer Trent Boult will be the big match-up against him. Boult will look to outshine the left-hander with pace or swing. He also has the variations to catch Warner off-guard.

2. Jos Buttler vs Khaleel Ahmed: RR opener Jos Buttler has been batting on a planet of his own. In six matches, he has clobbered 375 runs at an average of 75 and a strike rate of 156.90 with two hundreds and as many fifties. His scores in the tournament are 35, 100, 70*, 13, 54 and 103. The numbers tell a story in itself. He has been unstoppable in most of the games and if DC want to halt RR, they need to see the back of Buttler early. Left-arm seamer Khaleel Ahmed will be up against a massive challenge. He has been impressive thus far, claiming 10 wickets in five matches at an average of 14.30 and a strike rate of 12. Can he find a way past Buttler?

3. Rishabh Pant vs Yuzvendra Chahal: This will be one contest to watch out for. DC captain Rishabh Pant has not been in the best of form. He has played a couple of good knocks, but the fluency has been clearly missing. Despite that, one can guarantee that he will look to dominate the RR attack. That’s his best option to succeed. In the middle overs though, he will be up against the master Yuzvendra Chahal. The leggie is fresh from his five-for and hat-trick against KKR, which turned the game on its head. He will undoubtedly look to outfox Pant with his bag of tricks.

4. Sanju Samson vs Kuldeep Yadav: RR skipper Sanju Samson will be up against the other big spinner of the match Kuldeep Yadav. After a few poor scores, Samson found some rhythm back against KKR, with a breezy cameo. He will be keen for a bigger score against DC. The right-hander batter though has had his struggles against spin. Kuldeep Yadav is enjoying the best IPL of his career so far in terms of rhythm and wicket-taking ability. He should be confident of standing up to the challenge of taking on the RR skipper.

5. Shimron Hetmyer vs Mustafizur Rahman: RR batterShimron Hetmyer has been absolutely destructive at the death. He has smashed 223 runs at a strike rate of 179.84. He has displayed terrific big-hitting skills. DC’s Mustafizur Rahman was taken apart by Dinesh Karthik, but came back well against PBKS. He will be under a bit of pressure against Hetmyer in the death overs. But, he has the skills, the experience and the variations. Can he deliver the goods?

–Renin Wilben Albert

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