CricketIPL 2021

IPL 2020 Preview: Youthful Delhi looks for title glory

By Tanuj Birua

Rebranding and change of the name haven’t just repaired a fractured fanbase but brought with it much-needed change on the pitch. The refreshed Delhi squad is the youngest it has been this IPL, packed with full of exciting and emerging stars.

Last season, we saw a very different Delhi – a team that was so effervescent and unafraid to play attacking brand of cricket. For all of that joie de vivre upfront, however, they would seek to build a title-winning side. That is not built on fragile foundations, and Ricky Ponting knows it.

DELHI CAPITALS SQUAD:

Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Daniel Sams, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Mohit Sharma, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, R Ashwin, Marcus Stoinis, Anrich Nortje, Rishabh Pant, Alex Carey, Shimron Hetmyer, Tushar Deshpande.

Preview

From being a winner of everything with Australia in his playing days, Ricky Ponting now looks to continue that trend like a boss. He’s already got his mind focused, having finished a respectable third place last year. It’s now on Punter to continue the franchise recent run of success and turn their project into something truly memorable.

The depth in Delhi ranks is ferocious, with wave upon wave of versatile batsman & spinners. The two strengths go hand in hand, you are more likely to stick to the strict instructions of a game plan. Combined with the experience of veterans like Ravi Ashwin and Shikhar Dhawan, who have both played at the highest level with the Indian national team and have been part of IPL winning team, puts a great psychological effect on a squad who are momentarily heading in the right direction.

With the competition of opening slot being heated up between Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw, it’s the latter who might pip the former to pair with Shikhar Dhawan. Shaw is an outstanding talent, he is one of best batsman against raw pace, having an average of 31.3 against left-arm seamer and striking them with a strike rate of 195.8, he is only likely to get better and better given his age.

Captain Shreyas Iyer, The 25-year-old doesn’t have the engine of Rishabh Pant or Hetmyer figure, nor does he need to. He’s a smooth run accumulator who can dictate the tempo of those behind him with the effortless style of batting and bat long in the inning.

At no. 4, Rishabh Pant is IPL’s highest run-getter since 2017. In 44 innings, he has struck 1538 runs at an average of 38.45 and striking it far distance with a strike rate of 168.1. He has the potential for even greater results as he naturally refines his temperament.

Number 5 Shimron Hetmyer, West Indian International have a monstrous presence in the middle order, naturally aggressive to his instinct, allows him to attack the bowler & wreak havoc without a second look back. Having created lasting impressions with Royal Challengers Banglore last season, perhaps lack of confidence cost the consistent run in the team, and he is expected to step up after an extensive bedding-in period and rediscover his consistency to match his obvious ability.

Having top-order being well stock and sorted this leave, Delhi with players who could provide impetus final touch to the inning, according to the 2019 database, they have scored with a rate of 9.60 per over in death, which is third-lowest among the IPL team. This spot is wide open for the likes of Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Keemo Paul, Alex Carey, and Marcus Stoinis. Providing substantial backing to them can not only provide structural issues to resolve but stability & more depth and quality in this department.

Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra & Ravi Ashwin have secured their places. But it’s the South African who inspires the charge. Kagiso Rabada is a world-class bowler, a specialist at operating at 3 different stages of the inning, totally at ease in drifting the ball at both sides in powerplays to resolute yorkers in the death, 25 wickets to his name at an average of 14.7 and an economy rate of 7.8. He is a near-perfect all-around behemoth.

Delhi
R Ashwin

 

Ricky Ponting has a relentless squad, almost as good as it gets, they can afford off days, but the boldness and intensity is a sight to behold. It’s up to him to create Unity must-win ethos in this team.

Probable XI

Prithvi Shaw
Shikhar Dhawan
Shreyas Iyer (Captain)
Rishabh Pant (Wicketkeeper)
Shimron Hetmyer
Marcus Stoinis/ Harshal Patel
Axar Patel/Keemo Paul
Ravi Ashwin
Amit Mishra
Ishant Sharma
Kagiso Rabada

Author’s take

Given the Squad Delhi depth have, it will be another white-hot battle at the top, they are one of few teams who are likely to make it knockout rounds, will they have enough resilience at the back themself for another title race? It’s the question, which is likely to be answered in the upcoming season of the Indian Premier League.

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