New Delhi: After a disappointing loss in the season-opener, the Delhi Daredevils would be hoping for a better batting performance when they take on perennial underdogs, Rajasthan Royals, in the fourth match of the IPL, on Saturday.

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A brittle middle-order, coupled with the absence of impact players Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder due to injuries, has become a cause for concern for the Mahela Jayawardene-led side. The hosts would be keeping their fingers crossed for the return of dashing Indian opener Virender Sehwag, who missed the last match due back spasms, to reinforce their batting line-up.

Dubbed as a top-heavy side, Delhi's middle-order failed to capitalise on a brisk start provided by Jayawardene and explosive Aussie batsman David Warner on a slow Eden Gardens' track against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Delhi would be keen to make amends for the crushing six-wicket defeat on Wednesday. The decision to try rookie batsman Manprit Juneja did not bear fruits for the Daredevils, as he looked uneasy in his brief stay at the wicket, and the side would be better served by the experience of Venugopal Rao in the middle order.

Despite the unavailability of last year's Purple-Cap holder, Morne Morkel, for the second consecutive game, Delhi's bowling attack looks settled unit. It features a three-pronged pace attack comprising Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra and Umesh Yadav, besides left-arm tweaker Shahbaz Nadeem.

Morkel is currently playing for his domestic side in South Africa and will join the squad from their third match, against the Mumbai Indians on April 8. Out of the 10 meetings in the brief IPL history, the Daredevils have had the upper-hand against their Jaipur-based rivals, with six wins and four losses.

On the other hand, Rajasthan Royals, who have looked awry since their inaugural edition feat, will look to kickstart their campaign on an positive note. Except for the 2008 edition, in which the Royals emerged surprise winners under the maverick leadership of the legendary Shane Warne, the Shilpa-Shetty co-owned team has always finished in the bottom-half of the table.

For a side which has often found itself in a knockout situation in the latter part of the long and strenuous tournament, the Royals would be aiming to build initial momentum in their pursuit of finishing in the top four.

The Teams (from):

Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene, Ajit Agarkar, Andre Russell, Arisht Singhvi, Ashish Nehra, Ben Rohrer, CM Gautum, David Warner, Gulam Bodi, Irfan Pathan, Jeevan Mendis, Johan Botha, Kedar Jadhav, Manprit Juneja, Naman Ojha, Pawan Negi, Roelof van der Merwe, Royston Dias, Siddharth Kaul, Sujit NAyak, Shahbaz Nadeem, Umesh Yadav, Unmukt Chand, Venugopal Rao, Virender Sehwag, Yogesh Nagar.

Rajasthan Royals: Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane, Ajit Chandila, Ankeet Chavan, Ashok Menaria, Brad Hogg, Brad Hodge, Dishant Yagnik, Fidel Edwards, Harmeet Singh, James Faulkner, Kevon Cooper, Kumar Boresha, Kushal Janith Perera, Owais Shah, Pravin Tambe, Rahul Shukla, S Sreesanth, Sachin Baby Samual Badree, Sanju Samson, Shaun Tait, Sreevats Goswami, Siddharth Trivedi, Stuart Binny, Vikramjeet Malik.


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