The Delhi Capitals Will Roar.

The Delhi Capitals Will Roar.

The word ‘Delhi Daredevils’ had become synonymous with failure. Since 2012, the team was unable to reach the playoff stage of the IPL even a single time. And whenever they did reach the playoffs in previous seasons, they were knocked out before the finals. Delhi-based IPL fans had pretty much lost hope in their team, and shifted to supporting the RCBs and the CSKs. But then in 2019, the big change came. The franchise announced that there would be a change in ownership and a whole rebuild would occur, starting with the name of the team. The new name – Delhi Capitals.

After DD’s dismal performances over the years, nobody expected just a new name (and not a very thoughtful one at that!) to change their fortunes. But that’s exactly what happened. There was a complete revamping of the coaching staff, including the head coach position, which was given to Ricky Ponting. A young Indian player in Shreyas Iyer was officially given captaincy and focus was put around making an Indian core, taking a similar approach to defending champions MI.

Led by captain Shreyas Iyer – Delhi Capitals enjoyed massive success in 2019

And the results spoke for themselves! DC cruised into the playoffs for the first time in 8 years, being the only team to give any sort of competition to the likes of CSK and MI, the eventual finalists in IPL 2019. This year, they have improved their squad even further, and now they look deadlier than ever.

This is what their playing XI may look like –

  1. Shikhar Dhawan
  2. Ajinkya Rahane
  3. Shreyas Iyer (c)
  4. Shimron Hetmyer*
  5. Rishabh Pant (wk)
  6. Marcus Stoinis*
  7. Axar Patel
  8. Ravichandran Ashwin
  9. Sandeep Lamihchane*
  10. Ishant Sharma
  11. Kagiso Rabada*

Yup, thats the team. It will be an understatement to say that the team is strong. Plus, the bench is almost as strong as the starting XI, and the captain will definitely have a bit of a dilemma choosing the XI. Also, DC is probably one of the only teams whose Indian players are even more impressive than their foreign players. The emphasis on assembling the Indian core has clearly paid off.

This is evident in their batting department. Barring Shimron Hetmyer, their top order consists only of Indian players. And what a top order it is! All of the players have been an integral part of the Indian team at some point. They also have some excellent replacements on the bench. Prithvi Shaw and Jason Roy can come in for either of the openers if they’re not on top of their game. Even Marcus Stoinis can move up the order to open like he has done exceptionally for his BBL team Melbourne Stars. Moving downward, the bench does not contribute too much to the middle order, but Alex Carey is a valuable backup keeper, who might come in handy if Pant gets injured, or feels uncomfortable donning the keeper’s gloves.

Marcus Stoinis opened the innings for the Melboune Stars in the BBL – and to great effect! He was the most valuable player of the tournment.

Stoinis will be their go-to guy for finishing off games, and for striking with the ball too. I honestly think he’s severely underrated, and that this year will be a huge breakthrough year for him. Next, I have put in Axar Patel but it is impossible to predict who will actually play there, because DC have so many options! Keemo Paul may play there if they want a more batting-heavy squad, but if he plays then Sandeep Lamichchane will have tp be replaced by Amit Mishra since only 4 foreigners can be played. They may also just reject the notion that they should play at least 2 all-rounders, and pomote Ashwin to the No.7 spot, and getting Anrich Nortje in for Ishant Sharma, again switching Lamichchane and Mishra in the process. So there are a lot of possible combinations.

The spin bowling is dynamic in this team. If Lamichchane plays, then the spin department looks beefed up, but if he doesn’t play, then its just very average. Ravi Ashwin will spearhead the spin attack, but I doubt he will be much of a threat. His job will mainly be to keep the economy rate low, and the pressure high. Spin bowling will be especially crucial in this year’s IPL because the UAE pitches are extremely slow and dry. That’s exactly why I chose the combination I did, containing 3 spinners to complement the pitches.

Seamer Kagiso Rabada will be instrumental in ensuring DC’s success this season

Finally, the pacers. The obvious star who sticks out here, is Kagiso Rabada. Delhi will depend a lot on him. He is their assassin, and if he is out of form, then DC will have to say goodbye to the playoffs. However if he can give them 4 solid overs, then Ashwin can join in to maintain the pressure, and the unexpected Lamichchane or Stoinis delivery can secure the wicket. If DC’s bowlers can even perform at an average level, their batting prowess will ensure that they can win the game.

One last comment. There has been some sort of a controversy created in the DC camp. Ravi Ashwin had infamously ‘mankaded’ Jos Buttler in the previous year’s IPL while playing for KXIP. Well, his new coach Ricky Ponting despises ‘mankading’, and has said publicly that ‘There will be no mankading in DC on my watch, I will have to talk to Ashwin about it’. Now, Ashwin is a person who stands his ground, and Ponting is no less. So there may be some animosity between Ponting and Ashwin, with the possibility of a falling out or a rift being very high. This would greatly impact DC’s chances though, so I’m certain that the team management must have sat down and urged them to forget their differences, and put all their resources into the team doing well. So this probably won’t stand in their way.

Head Coach Ricky Ponting and Ravi Ashwin had very different opinions on the controversial subject of mankading

One last comment. There has been some sort of a controversy created in the DC camp. Ravi Ashwin had infamously ‘mankaded’ Jos Buttler in the previous year’s IPL while playing for KXIP. Well, his new coach Ricky Ponting despises ‘mankading’, and has said publicly that ‘There will be no mankading in DC on my watch, I will have to talk to Ashwin about it’. Now, Ashwin is a person who stands his ground, and Ponting is no less. So there may be some animosity between Ponting and Ashwin, with the possibility of a falling out or a rift being very high. This would greatly impact DC’s chances though, so I’m certain that the team management must have sat down and urged them to forget their differences, and put all their resources into the team doing well. So this probably won’t stand in their way.

Prediction – This year’s DC team seems stronger than last year’s. And given how well last year’s team did, I think this team should do at least as good. So, I think DC will reach the playoffs, and also the finals. But I’m not predicting the result of the final, because on that day, it has very little to do with cricketing ability, it all just comes down to who handles their nerves better. Their star player of the season will be Marcus Stoinis, with some fiery finishing innings, and regular breakthroughs with the ball.

Thank you for reading! If you are reading this on my WordPress, you should go and check out my other pieces on my site. Goodbye!

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