Confident Daredevils up against dejected Royals

Delhi Daredevils will be looking to carry on their winning momentum against an unpredictable Rajasthan Royals on Monday.

updated: March 14, 2010 14:21 IST
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On a high after launching their Indian Premier League 3 campaign on a positive note, title favourites Delhi Daredevils will be looking to carry on their winning momentum against an unpredictable Rajasthan Royals here on Monday.

Semifinalist in the last two editions of the Twenty20 tournament, the Daredevils are desperate to better the mark this time and they began their IPL III campaign in style, beating Kings XI Punjab comprehensively by five wickets at Mohali with skipper Gautam Gambhir leading from the front.

Taming the Royals, however, would be far from a cakewalk since the Shane Warne-led side, powered by Yusuf Pathan's blistering century, nearly pulled off a stunning chase against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Gambhir, however, can rely on his bowlers who put up an impressive display on Saturday, restricting Kings XI Punjab to a modest 142.

Left-arm pacer Dirk Nannes sparkled with the new ball, while Farveez Maharoof, Pradeep Sangwan, Yo Mahesh, Amit Mishra and Tillakaratne Dilshan proved decent enough to deny Kings XI a big score.

On the batting front, Gambhir led from the front with a well compiled 72 while Mithun Manhas and Dinesh Karthik gave him good support at the middle-order.

To add to Rajasthan's woes, the dangerous trio of Virender Sehwag, Dilshan and AB de Villiers are due for runs, having missed on the opportunity in the opening encounter against Kings XI Punjab.

In contrast, Rajasthan Royals, their batting line-up at least, looks more or less a one man army, completely dependent of Yusuf Pathan, who yesterday struck the fastest century of the tournament to bring his side close to a famous victory.

Chasing a mammoth 213, Pathan singlehandedly brought the Royals in sight of a victory with a majestic 37-ball 100-run knock but eventually it was heartbreak for the Shilpa Shetty-owned side as they fell short by just four runs.

Paras Dogra too shone with the bat with a quickfire 41 and gave Pathan the much-needed support from the other end.

However, if they wish to turn the tables on Monday, Royals top-order, that includes South African captain Graeme Smith and flamboyant Swapnil Asnodkar among others, needs to share Pathan's responsibility.

Apart from Australian pace sensation Shaun Tait and Dimitry Mascarenhas, the Royals bowling department lacks firepower.

Out of practice for most part of the year, captain Shane Warne did not look that menacing but Daredevils batsmen would err if they underestimate the wily Australian.