The Delhi Daredevils' batting is blowing away everything in its path. On Friday, it was the Mumbai Indians' turn to face the fury. Rahul Dravid's Rajasthan Royals, who slipped into town as the losers, clearly know the equation for Sunday's clash against the table toppers.
The sheer consistency of Delhi's top order puts them clearly ahead on a good Ferozshah Kotla pitch. Skipper Virender Sehwag rattled off his third half-century in a row on Friday, with big contributions from Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen. The Sri Lanka skipper is likely to open the innings for the last time as the pint-sized Australian David Warner is set to join the squad after the successful West Indies tour.
For Pietersen, it will be the last home game, as he packs off for the home series against the West Indies after the return game against the Royals in Jaipur.
Delhi and Rajasthan have the only two centurions in IPL V --- Pietersen and Ajinkya Rahane having knocked 103 not out apiece, but the teams are in contrasting situations. While Delhi stand clearly at the top, the Royals have their task cut out after losing the last two games, against CSK and RCB. Their fifth position, after emerging early leaders, looks tricky as a defeat can push them down the table at the start of the second half of the tournament.
While Warner is expected to sleep it off on Sunday, the Royals will also have to wait until the return game to get the services of Australia all-rounder Shane Watson, who will also be on the same flight as the Daredevils' opener.
The Royals will have to bat consistently if they are to bring the hosts under any kind of pressure. Overcast conditions on Saturday forced the covers to be kept on the Kotla pitch, which may slow it down and bring the spinners into the equation. The Daredevils could well give Morne Morkel, the leading bowler of IPL V, a break and give West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell his first match.