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Rediff.com  » Cricket » IPL: Problems aplenty for Delhi ahead of Titans clash

IPL: Problems aplenty for Delhi ahead of Titans clash

Source: PTI
April 03, 2023 14:31 IST
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IMAGE: Delhi Capitals opener Prithvi Shaw is bowled by Mark Wood of Lucknow Super Giants. Photograph: BCCI

Delhi Capitals' Indian pace unit will have to punch above its weight against a formidable Gujarat Titans unit, which will start as overwhelming favourites in its first away match of the season, in New Delhi on Tuesday.

 

The defending champions have all their bases covered despite Kane Williamson being ruled out of the tournament after a serious knee injury.

The hosts, on the other hand, are looking like an outfit that is bereft of a Plan B as it became apparent in their 50-run thrashing at the hands of Lucknow Super Giants.

The primary worry is the composition of Indian pace attack, which mildly put is below par when Anrich Nortje isn't there to spearhead the attack.

IMAGE: Delhi Capitals' think thank comprising of captain David Warner, head coach Ricky Ponting, assistant coach Shane Watson and director of cricket Sourav Ganguly. Photograph: BCCI

Chetan Sakariya and Mukesh Kumar are sincere cricketers but both lack the pace and variation required to trouble international quality batters consistently.

They could well be lambs for slaughter against a Shubman Gill, who is in rampaging form or skipper Hardik Pandya, who would feast on friendly medium pacers day in and day out.

Khaleel Ahmed had a decent first game but his fielding has been an issue for years and those who have seen him at fielding sessions now know that he drops more aerial catches than he takes. The drop of Kyle Mayers had the most damaging effect in opening game for Delhi.

The only other notable pacer in the ranks is Ishant Sharma and even Delhi management knows well that picking him at his base price was more of showing respect to a 100-Test veteran rather than thinking of him as an asset.

IMAGE: Gujarat Titans' pacer Mohammed Shami celebrates a wicket with his team-mates. Photograph: BCCI

Sharma can only be used as an 'impact player' but those who have watched Delhi training this season would vouch that he has lost pace and the skiddy effect is no longer there.

Hence, Nortje and his South African compatriot Lungi Ngidi, who both are still on national duty, are required at the earliest.

They will arrive only after the completion of Tuesday's game and Director of Cricket Sourav Ganguly and head coach Ricky Ponting will have to rejig the combination a bit.

They could look to leave out Sakariya and get Mustafizur Rahaman, an experienced international campaigner in the bowling unit. In that case, Rilee Rossouw will have to sit out.

In the batting department, skipper David Warner would like to see the Indian youngsters like Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan handle raw pace better than they did while encountering Mark Wood.

Both looked uncomfortable and short of ideas as one didn't have his bat come down in time while the other just managed to avoid a head injury while getting into a tangle, playing the ramp shot.

IMAGE: Gujarat Titans opener Shubman Gill. Photograph: BCCI

Sarfaraz not being picked for Test squad has been questioned by many but it is widely believed, even at the top level in the BCCI, that the Mumbaikar has serious technical issues against the short-pitched deliveries above 138 to 140 clicks.

The duo will have to do much better if Delhi don't want to lose early momentum.

Against Delhi, Mohammed Shami and Pandya will pose a different challenge.  With Alzarri Joseph, Yash Dayal and the ever-consistent Rashid Khan for company, it will be a challenge for Delhi batters.

Delhi's main problem is Indian bench strength and perhaps not having good enough ones to be substituted as 'impact players'.

The likes of Ripal Patel, Lalit Yadav and Aman Hakim Khan are decent domestic players but without the X-factor. It will all depend on how well the foreign recruits shape up for Delhi.

Squads:

Gujarat Titans: Hardik Pandya (captain), Shubman Gill, Kona Bharat (w/k), Wriddhiman Saha (w/k), Rahul Tewatia, Abhinav Manohar, Mohammed Shami, Pradeep Sangwan, R Sai Kishore, Vijay Shankar, Sai Sudharshan, Rashid Khan, Shivam Mavi, Mathew Wade, Odean Smith, Urvil Patel, Darshan Nalkande, David Miller (not available in first 2 games), Josh Little (first match not available), Yash Dayal, Jayant Yadav, Odean Smith, Noor Ahmed, Alzarri Joseph.

Delhi Capitals: David Warner (captain), Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Manish Pandey, Rovman Powell, Rilee Rossouw, Sarfaraz Khan (w/k), Phil Salt (w/k), Abhishek Porel (w/k), Axar Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Lalit Yadav, Ripal Patel, Ishant Sharma, Chetan Sakariya, Khaleel Ahmed, Aman Hakim Khan, Praveen Dubey, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Yash Dhull, Mukesh Kumar, Vicky Ostwal.

Match starts at 7.30pm IST.

Where to watch: The match will be broadcast live on Star Sports channels. The telecast will be live streamed on Jio Cinema app.

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