Can the resurrected Delhi Capitals take one step further and make it four in a row?
Until IPL 2019, the former Delhi Daredevils have never been a playoff contender, never alone a championship challenger, with the exception of three seasons. With the entrance of the new co-owner and the rebranding of the business, things changed for the better.
The Delhi Capitals have established themselves as one of the top contenders for the title in only the first three years of their existence. They have made it to the playoffs in all of the last three instalments of this tournament, albeit without crossing the final hurdle.
Proven pace attack: In addition to a terrific top four, Delhi has a strong pace assault, led by South African fast Anrich Nortje. He has 34 IPL wickets and prefers to take early wickets, but Shardul Thakur may be quite useful in the dying overs.
In Khaleel Ahmed, Mustafizur Rahman, and Chetan Sakariya, Pant’s team also includes a trio of outstanding left-arm pacers, with one of them sure to make the playing XI.
The Delhi Capitals have one of the most threatening top four lineups in the game. They are set to start David Warner and Prithvi Shaw, with Srikar Bharat or Yash Dhull at No. 3 and skipper Rishabh Pant following them into the field.
Shaw and Warner at the top of the order are a nightmare for any bowling team. Warner’s strike rate has dipped recently, but he has a career average of above 40 in the IPL. Shaw, who has a lifetime strike rate of 146.30 in the IPL, might play the position of a sheet anchor since he enjoys taking on bowlers early on.
In the IPL, finishers have yet to establish their worth: Mitchell Marsh, Axar Patel, and Rovman Powell cost Delhi INR 17.80 crores each. While these players will improve the team’s overall balance by contributing with both the bat and the ball, there is one issue.
Marsh and Patel have experienced international success, but their stats with the bat in the IPL have been disappointing. The Australian has a 17.30 IPL average and a top score of 38, while Patel has a 17.23 average.
That will be the Capitals’ primary goal this season, and with the roster they’ve put together at the auction table, there’s no reason to think they won’t be among the favourites. Ricky Ponting’s club has an excellent balance of experience and youthful vigour, with a few major stars in each department.
The spin department lacks a leader: In addition to accomplished finishers, Delhi’s spin section lacks a recognised leader. Axar Patel can do a little bit of everything, but with only 95 wickets in 109 games, he would not be the franchise’s primary spin option.
They will have another option in Kuldeep Yadav, who was once a reliable wicket-taker for KKR but hasn’t done much in recent years. He has only taken up five wickets in 14 outings over the previous two seasons.