The much awaited tournament Indian Premier League is finally knocking at the door and with IPL coming in just 7 days, it’s time we start making our playing 11s of every side. Not only as a fan of our respective sides but also as a cricket enthusiast, we love discussing what a playing 11 would be to begin with and that starts with making the strongest possible combination on paper. We are doing just the same thing in this series and we continue this series with looking at how the playing 11 of Delhi Capitals would shape up.
Delhi Capitals, previously known as Delhi Daredevils achieved their best result in IPL last year with a place in the playoffs. They look very promising this year too with a very heavy Indian core. Let’s take a look at Delhi Capitals playing XI without any delay.
Prithvi Shaw holds a very important key to Delhi’s future this year although his poor season last year didn’t stop the Capitals to reach the playoffs. He scored 353 runs in the 16 matches last year which was below par but the excellent form of Dhawan at the other end didn’t let that hurt DC. This time Shaw will need to improve his returns a notch with Dhawan not being in good form prior to the pandemic break.
Dhawan had an excellent season last year which was his second best in terms of total runs scored. He scored 521 runs with 5 50+ scores and played a huge role in team’s success last year. In international T20s, he has been dropped due to the lack of returns. IPL would again be a great chance for Dhawan to prove himself worthy enough of playing T20s for India again.
Shimron Hetmyer at 3 may work or may not work because he is someone who blows hot & cold on different days and if DC wants a steady option at 3, they do have Ajinkya Rahane but for the first match where every team would love to start aggressively, Hetmyer could be the better option. Hetmyer played 4 matches for RCB last year and could only score a 50 in the last game. This year, he would have a lot more to prove.
Shreyas Iyer (c)
Captain Shreyas Iyer prefers batting at 4 and we’ve seen his capabilities at that position playing for Indian team. Previous season was decent for him where he scored 463 runs but one thing he needs to keep an eye on, is his strike rate which was only 119 last season. Although he will have both Hetmyer and Pant at the either ends this time to make up for his slowness.
Rishabh Pant is Delhi’s most important batsman, or you could say player this year. If he has a great season, Delhi fans will sleep peacefully. Also because of the position he bats, it’s imperative for him to perform well. DC clearly struggles with finishers and the other two options they’ve got at 6 is Marcus Stoinis and Alex Carey and they both aren’t the kind of finishers who would win you matches 8 out of 10 times. Pant will have a lot more responsibility in the batting again this year.
Marcus Stoinis / Lalit Yadav
Here comes the weak link of Capitals side – The finishing. Not saying Marcus Stoinis can’t finish the games but he takes some time before starting to give it a whack. His recent T20 performances suggest he is better playing as an opener than a finisher but Delhi can’t afford to play him in the top order. If Stoinis has the confidence, he could do much better than the popular belief while his bowling too would come in handy at the UAE surfaces. However, there is still uncertainty over whether he would be available from the first due to quarantine protocols or not. If he is not available, then DC may consider playing Lalit Yadav who has been in awesome touch going by the practice videos of Delhi Capitals.
Next two names in this playing XI are finger spinners which could become one of their strengths as the tournament progresses and pitches get tired out. And one of those two spinners is Axar Patel who played for the same team last year as well. Patel took only 10 wickets but did a decent containing job as he had the economy under 8. He surely would like these conditions even more.
If Patel will like these conditions more, there is one more person who would like these conditions and his name is R Ashwin. He was quite a popular personality in last year’s IPL and he seems to be going the same way this year too. Punjab captain for last two years was traded to Delhi Capitals this year with the responsibility of being the main spinner. He did have a good year undoubtedly where he picked up 15 wickets with an economy of only 7.27 and he would like to repeat or go even better this time around.
We move to the fast bowlers now which begins with the mention of the bowling all rounder Keemo Paul who was in decent form in CPL off late. Playing for DC last year, he picked up 9 wickets in the 8 matches. His economy was a touch on the higher side which would worry the team management. Sandeep Lamichhane can be another option for this slot if DC wants to go with a spinner instead of 3 fast bowlers.
South African star bowler Kagiso Rabada was at his best in 2019 when he picked up 25 wickets in just 12 games and it was his absence which hurt them in the playoffs. Rabada, yet again will have the similar role of bowling 2 overs with the new ball with Ishant and then 2 at the death with Keemo Paul.
Ishant Sharma completes this team with his presence. Last year, everyone had an eye on Sharma considering the fact that he was mainly known as a Test format bowler. Ishant picked 13 wickets in those 13 games at an economy of just over 7 and a half. His main role would be to bowl 2-3 overs at front and then the remaining in the middle phase of the inning as he can be vulnerable in the death overs.