Delhi Capitals: IPL 2020 Preview

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Can the Delhi Capitals break the finals jinx? Let’s see!

Delhi, the capital of India, has been the most happening city in India in the past year. AAP swept the legislative elections, and the dangerous smog caused a lot of harm to the Delhites. Cricket too has its share of change amidst this chaos. While the Ranji Trophy team seems to be degrading in quality day by day, the franchise team, Delhi Capitals, appears to be moving up the ranks. It was way back in 2012 when the Delhi Capitals, then called “Delhi Daredevils”, had topped the points table in the league stage only to crash out and miss out on an opportunity of a maiden IPL Final. Since then till 2018, the story has more or less been the same. The franchise failed to qualify for the playoffs for six years in a row, which included three finishes on the bottom of the points table (in 2013, 2014, and 2018). But, their happy days had finally arrived in the 2019 season. Although Delhi narrowly missed out on a maiden IPL final, one could see the change in the brand of cricket. Constant chopping and changing of both the captain and the team have cost the team several opportunities at winning the title. However, it looks unlikely that the duo of Ponting and Shreyas Iyer will be separated soon. 

The evolution of Delhi has been immaculate. At one point in time, they had superstars like Virender Sehwag, AB De Villiers, David Warner, and Andre Russell in their ranks. They have moved on from the fact that maybe foreign players can win you matches, but it’s the Indian core that wins you tournaments. They possess an enviable batting lineup comprising of Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Jason Roy, Shimron Hetmyer, Rishabh Pant, Alex Carey and the captain himself, Shreyas Iyer. It is a problem of plenty, and one would wonder on whom to leave out from such an incredible lineup. My gut feeling is that the top 5 will comprise of four Indians and one foreigner. Probably the experience of Shikhar Dhawan and the elegance of Prithvi Shaw will bat at the top with hard-hitting Shimron Hetmyer to slot in at number 3. Then, skipper Iyer and Wicket Keeper Rishabh Pant can save themselves for providing the impetus towards the backend of the innings. 

Like most batting obsessed teams, Delhi too has a slightly weaker bowling lineup, possibly one of most vulnerable in this year’s IPL. It possesses a wealth of experience in the form of Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, etc. However, the lack of a so-called “X Factor” will hurt the team. They do possess Sandeep Lamichhane in their lineup, but the presence of Axar Patel, Mishra, and now Ashwin will keep Sandeep out of the playing XI. However, for home games (at the Arun Jaitley Stadium) and the game at the Chepauk Stadium (CSK’s home ground) the team might be tempted to play three or even four spinners considering the sluggish conditions.  Though Rabada, the leader of the attack, was at his best in the previous edition of IPL, he seems to have a recent dip in his form with hardly any success at the international level. 

For a qualification spot, Delhi will need both Rabada and Ishant to fire upfront in the powerplay and at the death. 

My starting XI – 

Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Shreyas Iyer(c), Rishabh Pant(wk), Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma.

  • The odd feature about this starting XI is the presence of only three foreign players. But such is the Indian talent that it’s difficult to choose whom to leave out. However, Keemo Paul may get a look in at the expense of an Indian spinner like Axar Patel. He also brings another potent option at the death, which allows Ishant to bowl three overs upfront in the power play.
  • Another addition could be that of Jason Roy; he is likely to come into the picture f away games at venues like Mumbai, Kolkata, and Banglore, where the pitch is conducive to clean stroke-making.  

Other serious contenders for the starting XI – Keemo Paul, Jason Roy, Sandeep Lamichhane.

My prediction –  

For me, DC has the most robust Indian batting core, but the number of potential game-changing players is slightly underwhelming compared to the other teams. I feel this team will fall short of a qualification spot and finish on either 5th or 6th. 

Please feel free to post your opinions in the comments section. 

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