Faf Du Plessis, RPS, Delhi Daredevils, team, IPL
Faf Du Plessis has been omitted from the playing XI in the first two RPS games of IPL 2017IANS

Keeping a potential match-winner on the bench, someone who has performed time and again previously in the IPL, is always going to raise eyebrows, especially when your team aren't playing the greatest of cricket. Faf Du Plessis will hope he finally gets a game in IPL 2017, when the Rising Pune Supergiant host the Delhi Daredevils in Pune on Tuesday.

So far, RPS have decided to go with Imran Tahir, Steve Smith, Ben Stokes and Adam Zampa/Dan Christian as their four overseas options, and while that seemed like a decent decision in their first match, when they beat the Mumbai Indians, the head-scratching started when Du Plessis was left out again in the heavy defeat to the Kings XI Punjab.

Put into bat first, RPS struggled for any kind of runs, and, as a result, they gave Kings XI an easy chase.

If Du Plessis doesn't play, RPS seem t a little too heavily reliant on Steve Smith to make the big score – there are others around him capable of picking up notable scores, but for the really, big ones, it looks like Smith needs to be the man more often than not. Otherwise, maybe pushing MS Dhoni further up the order and asking the former captain to play a big innings might not be a bad option.

To avoid the over-reliance on Smith, RPS can bring in Du Plessis, dump Mayank Agarwal, who has time and again flattered to deceive at this level, and put a bit more faith in an Indian fast bowler.

Of course, the slight problem with that plan is that the quality of RPS' fast bowlers isn't the greatest.

They have Deepak Chahar, who went for plenty in the first game, and was replaced by his younger brother, the leg-spinner Rahul Chahar.

There is Ashok Dinda, who is basically another Ishant Sharma in T20 cricket – someone who is very hittable, especially in the final overs.

You have Jaskaran Singh, who last played an IPL game in 2010.

Imran Tahir, RPS, Delhi Daredevils, IPL 2017, KXIP
Imran Tahir will be up against the team that released him after last seasonIANS

There is Jaydev Unadkat, who can be useful in this format, but is also prone to giving away too many runs.

You have Ishwar Pandey, the former India fast bowler, who isn't exactly a potent T20 bowler.

And finally Shardul Thakur, who has been on the cusp of India teams for a while now and has the talent to become a really solid option.

While their bowling resources aren't the greatest – and their Indian spin department isn't exactly in rude health either, after R Ashwin was ruled out of IPL 2017 through injury – RPS made the strange decision of playing Dan Christian against Kings XI, when, clearly, their issue was the bowling.

If they play Lockie Ferguson or Adam Zampa, instead of a Christian, who is more of a batting all-rounder, it would make better sense, but, really, what RPS must do is include Du Plessis, back their batting and trust their Indian bowlers and that great T20 leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who will be playing against the team that released him after last season, to do the job.

The Delhi Daredevils also made a couple of interesting team decisions in their first match of IPL 2017, which they went about gifting to the Royal Challengers Bangalore.

In a squad filled with pacers, pacers and more pacers, DD, surprisingly, decided to replace JP Duminy with another fast bowler in Ben Hilfenhaus. Now, with Kagiso Rabada and Mohammed Shami not getting a game so far, what chance is there of Hilfenhaus getting into the playing XI?

M Ashwin and Jayant Yadav, the two spinners, did not get a game either.

So, bowling is not the problem for the Delhi Daredevils.

As the previous match showed, batting is.

There are too many batsmen in this DD squad, who have the talent, but not quite the temperament.

Karun Nair, Delhi Daredevils, Billy Stanlake, RCB, IPL 2017
Delhi Daredevils need Karun Nair to come to the foreIANS

Sanju Samson, after that one season, where he showed so much promise and ability, has lost his way. Too many times, he gets in and then throws his wicket away by playing a daft shot.

Karun Nair has not shown enough consistency in the IPL, although he did have a decent IPL 2016 season.

Aditya Tare is a bit hit and miss as well, and DD, who will be without Shreyas Iyer again, might be better off opening with Rishabh Pant alongside Sam Billings, even if the left-hander impressed with a glorious innings lower down the order.

Chris Morris and Carlos Brathwaite are too inconsistent with the bat and Corey Anderson could be brought in, in the place of the West Indian.

Angelo Mathews has also joined the Delhi Daredevils team, but it remains to be seen if the Sri Lanka veteran has recovered sufficiently from his hamstring problem to be considered for this match against RPS.


RPS won the toss and will bowl first.

Steve Smith misses out for RPS with a bad stomach, which means Ajinkya Rahane (not MS Dhoni) is the captain. Manoj Tiwary is unavailable after losing his father earlier today. Adam Zampa comes in for Dan Christian, while Du Plessis replaces Smith.

DD make one change, bringing Corey Anderson in for Carlos Brathwaite.

Confirmed playing XI:

RPS: Ajinkya Rahane, Faf Du Plessis, Mayank Agarwal, Ben Stokes, MS Dhoni, Rahul Tripathi, Rajat Bhatia, Adam Zampa, Deepak Chahar, Imran Tahir, Ashok Dinda.


Delhi Daredevils: Aditya Tare, Sam Billings, Karun Nair, Sanju Samson, Rishabh Pant, Corey Anderson, Chris Morris, Pat Cummins, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Zaheer Khan (C).