IPL preview: Rajasthan Royals looking to stop buoyant Delhi Daredevils

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Zaheer Khan's return augers well for Delhi.

Medium-pacers Nathan Coulter-Nile and Zaheer Khan are confident of Delhi Daredevils finishing in the top four and sealing a playoff place.

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– FOLLOW: Cricket matches around the world LIVE

Buoyed by their big victory against Kings XI Punjab on Friday, Delhi are keen to take it a step further with strong displays in their remaining six games.

“We now have to win four out of the remaining six games. That’s how we are looking at it,” Khan said ahead of today’s clash against Rajasthan Royals at Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.

The 36-year-old, who played his first game for the Delhi franchise against Punjab, made a big impact claiming two early wickets and was also a guiding force for Coulter-Nile, adjudged man of the match for his career-best haul of 4-20.

“His understanding of the game and his experience is a lot more. Everything he said was gold and it was really special out there and it helped me a lot,” Coulter-Nile said of Khan.

The 27-year-old Aussie believes the team, with four wins in eight games, is settling in nicely for the bigger challenges ahead.

“We are not going to relax now; our next game is going to be as much pressure and we will try to win it as well,” he said. “We have played a few games together now so we know and understand each other and know our roles. So it’s starting to get a little bit easier.” 

Delhi will be up against a determined Rajasthan, keen to end their winless streak stretching to five games.

Since winning their first five games, they have struggled. In the next five, they have lost three and had two games washed out. 

Rajasthan also hold a 9-6 winning advantage over Delhi in their 15 meetings so far.

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Miller hopes Kings XI can end opening woes against Mumbai Indians

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Miller remains optimistic.

David Miller believes Kings XI Punjab still have a lot to play for despite languishing at the bottom of the eight-team table. Last year’s finalists have been poor this season with just two wins from eight games.

– BANvPAK: Superb Iqbal saves draw for Bangladesh

– ENGvWI: Anderson haul fails to lift England

– #360view: Kirsten's influence key to Delhi success
– FOLLOW: Cricket matches around the world LIVE

Since their Super Over victory against Rajasthan Royals, Punjab have lost to Chennai Super Kings (by 97 runs), Sunrisers Hyderabad (20 runs) and Delhi Daredevils (by nine wickets) to add to their three defeats in the first four games.

The big players have failed to fire with the openers being the biggest culprits. Barring a stand of 60 in their 18-run win against Mumbai Indians, the first wicket alliance got into double figures only twice.

Virender Sehwag has been a big disappointment averaging 13.85 in seven games scoring 97 runs while new recruit Murali Vijay has fared marginally better averaging 22.57 in seven games with 158 runs.

Miller, who has scored 166 runs in seven games, admits the constant failure of the openers has put the middle-order under immense pressure.

However, he is optimistic of a better show in the remaining six games, beginning with the home match against Mumbai Indians at Mohali today.

“It’s not easy,” Miller said.

“In the last six-seven games we haven’t batted well in the first six overs. So the middle-order has been under pressure to at least get the team to a decent total.

“But that’s what we are there for, to try and get to a good total whether we are in trouble or we are doing well. We just try and stabilise things and just push from there.

“It hasn’t been the greatest – the last couple of games. There are still six games left, so we can turn it around. We have to stay positive.”

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Hyderabad Sunrisers down Chennai Super Kings in Uppal

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Sunrisers celebrate their victory.

Sunrisers Hyderabad put together a complete performance to upstage table-toppers Chennai Super Kings by 22 runs at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Uppal on Saturday night.

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Captain and opener David Warner led the run charge with a belligerent 61 off 28 balls as Hyderabad powered to 192-7. Their bowlers and fielders then stuck to their tasks well and derailed the Chennai chase by taking wickets at regular intervals.

Faf du Plessis (33 off 22 balls) was Chennai’s top scorer as they finished at 170-6. The win has put Hyderabad in contention for a playoff spot as they are placed fifth (eight points from eight games), behind Chennai (12 from nine), Rajasthan Royals (12 from 10), Royal Challengers Bangalore (nine from eight) and Kolkata Knight Riders (nine from nine).

Playing their first game at their headquarters, Hyderabad started strongly with Warner and Shikhar Dhawan (37 off 32 balls) raising 86 in 8.1 overs for the first wicket.

Warner opened his account with a cracking pull and went on to play some stunning shots cutting the ball hard, driving fluently down the ground and punishing short deliveries through mid-wicket. He picked off Chennai’s opening bowlers Mohit Sharma and Ashish Nehra, smashing them for 49 runs in 19 balls. 

The Australian raced to his half-century in 20 balls smacking eleven boundaries and a six before holing out in the deep to part-timer Suresh Raina. Moises Henriques (19 off 9 balls) and Eoin Morgan (32 off 27) maintained the momentum as Hyderabad raced to their highest total of the season.

Dwayne Bravo withstood the assault returning impressive figures of 3-25, catapulting him to the top of the wicket-takers list. He has 14 wickets and shares the top spot with team-mate Ashish Nehra.

Morgan feels the manner in which they dismantled Chennai at home will boost the team’s confidence immensely as they look to improve their position in the standings.

The win at their place augurs well for Hyderabad, who will be playing their last three games at the same venue.

“Obviously, getting the result our way is a great start to our campaign at home. But to get it in the fashion that we did is probably better,” Morgan said after the game.

“Playing Chennai Super Kings is not always an easy task. They are a team of world beaters and to come out winning the way we did tonight is something we can take a lot of confidence from. Our bowlers tonight were outstanding. They performed well on a wicket that didn’t really have much going for them.

“They built pressure and picked wickets at crucial periods of time. We did have a little bit of luck going our way but we took advantage of it,” he told iplt20.com.

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