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IPL 2021: Can Delhi Capitals end their title drought?

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Harish Kotian
April 06, 2021 12:56 IST
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IMAGE: Delhi Capitals have gone from strength to strength in the last few years -- finishing third in 2019 before finishing runners up last year. Photograph: BCCI

Thrust into the leadership role, a completely transformed Rishabh Pant carries a lot of hope and responsibility on his shoulders as Delhi Capitals aim to build on the success of the last edition in the UAE, where they finished runners-up to Mumbai Indians.

 

A solid batting line-up coupled with a potent pace attack makes Delhi Capitals strong contenders this year too.

Pant was handed the captaincy a week back after Shreyas Iyer was forced out following a shoulder injury, sustained during the ODI series against England last month.

Delhi Capitals have gone from strength to strength in the last few years -- finishing third in 2019 before finishing runners up last year.

Here is a look at the team which will begin its campaign against Chennai Super Kings in Mumbai on April 10.

STRENGTHS:

They are one of the most balanced sides in the tournament with a formidable batting line-up and a potent pace attack.

In Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Ajinkya Rahane, Delhi boast of a solid top order. Pant along with Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer or Sam Billings will look to fill the hole left by Iyer in the middle order.

The addition of Steve Smith will further bolster their batting.

Dhawan (618) was the second highest run-scorer in 2020 and looked in good touch in the recent ODI series against England with scores of 98 and 67.

IMAGE: Rishabh Pant will lead Delhi Capitals in IPL 2020. Photograph: BCCI

Shaw too will be itching to prove his worth after amassing 827 runs in the Vijay Hazare Trophy following his ouster from the Australia Test series and a dismal last season.

Pant has emerged as a match-winner for India in the recent series against Australia and England. He along with all-rounder Stoinis and Billings will have to ensure that Delhi Capitals finish with a flourish in the final few overs or take the team home in tight run chases.

On the bowling front, South African pace duo of Kagiso Rabada (2020 purple cap winner) and Anrich Nortje has proved to a dream pair, having scalped 52 wickets together in 2020.

With Chris Woakes also in the mix this time and Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav also in the ranks, Delhi have lot of quality options in their pace attack.

WEAKNESS:

Delhi's primary weakness is not having enough quality back up players in their ranks both overseas and home cricketers. Not having like-for-like replacements is one of the weak points.

It was precisely the reason they were not able to rest Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Even in terms of wicketkeeping, in case Pant has a niggle they didn't have replacement. This year they have Vishnu Vinod of Kerala but he is a green horn.

Also the Indian fast bowling is pretty weak as their two premier fast bowlers Ishant and Umesh don't play much white ball cricket for the Indian team now.
    
OPPORTUNITIES:

Although a big challenge, but it will also be a huge opportunity for young skipper Pant to step out of the shadows of the legendary Mahendra Singh Dhoni by guiding his team to its maiden title.

The league also provides Pant the opportunity to prepare for the T20 World Cup, where he will be a vital cog in India's batting line-up. Dhawan too will look to seal the opening slot, while it is also a chance for Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel to prove themselves in the T20 format.

THREAT:

Pant has displayed resilience and understanding in his short career thus far but he will have to ensure that the added leadership responsibility doesn't affect his natural attacking instinct as a batsman.

IMAGE: Delhi Capitals will once again look towards pacer Kagiso Rabada to deliver with the ball. Photograph: BCCI

Also, Delhi Capitals's pace unit is overdependent on Rabada and Nortje with back-up pacers Ishant and Umesh not boasting of a great T20 record. However, England pace bowler Woakes can prove to be a handy bowler in the T20 format provided he gets the chance.

Last year, Delhi suffered four successive losses after seven wins in first nine games, jeopardising their play-off chances. They need to be wary of such a slump and avoid collapses like last year.

Squad: Rishabh Pant (captain, w/k), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod (w/k), Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Harish Kotian© Copyright 2021 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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Indian Premier League - 2021

Indian Premier League - 2021