Delhi Capitals will be looking to better their performance one step further this time after ending up runners up in the last edition of the Indian Premier League. After their last spot finish in 2018, having more questions than answers. Delhi Capitals has made huge strides in assembling the best side so far of the franchise as of last year and translating performances on the pitch. A Lot of the credit falls to Ricky Ponting, who took over as coach and guided them to the finals that have evaded them in the last 13 editions.
Though the leadership of Shreyas Iyer has been inspirational, there were a lot of obstacles to overcome towards the latter stage of the league. Losing services of star bowlers Ishant Sharma and Amit Sharma, injuries to Rishabh Pant, Kagiso Rabada, also the lack of form from Prithvi Shaw often left the team wanting at most times. But none of that prevented Delhi Capitals from making the finals, as such was their first-half performance.
During this year's mini-auction, the management has gone and further strengthened the team with some smart buys. With the capture of Steven Smith, Umesh Yadav, and Sam billings, also dipping into the local young talent of Vishnu Vinod and Lukman Meriwala, the management added more panache to the already existing core and will be looking to finally lift the trophy. Let's take a look at the top 5 performers expected to stand out for the team.
Having one of the top Indian openers to open their innings, the Delhi Capital management won't have many complaints in this area. Having a flamboyant personality, Shikhar Dhawan is part of a long list of aggressive stroke players from Delhi, a local boy. He has amassed over 5197 runs over 176 matches in his IPL career, which includes a remarkable 41 half-centuries. One of the best performers in the league, His talents are for everyone to see.
He was absolutely sensational in the last edition of IPL as he finished second to only KL Rahul as the two fought out for the orange cap. Adding to his out form partner Prithvi Shaw, he had the added responsibility for consistent performances to stabilize the team’s innings. He ended up scoring 618 runs from 17 matches scoring at a strike rate of 144.73 which included 2 centuries.
Even though earning back his call up to the Indian team and given a chance to perform in the 1st T20 against England, Dhawan failed to give a reason for his inclusion in the team, having been replaced by KL Rahul as India opener alongside Rohit Sharma. The Indian batsman also hasn't exactly shut down his critics with his performances in recently concluded tournaments in Indian domestic cricket. But having proven his prowess in the Indian T20 league with years of consistency, He will be expected to lead the Delhi batting attack once again.
Taking up the role of captain, Shreyas Iyer has led the franchise to unchartered territories, compared to the editions of IPL before. One of the fearless hitters of the ball with style, the Indian batsman has never shirked from his responsibilities and has led by example. With immense flair with the bat, Iyer has portrayed strength and courage in leading his side and managed adversity skillfully.
He had his most successful year in IPL last time, scoring 519 runs from 17 matches which included three half-centuries. The 26-year-old will be looking to better those numbers, and with the added inclusion of Steven Smith and coming in from Prithvi Shaw, He will believe the franchise will have all it takes for the final push. Ever since the franchise’s last-place finish in the 2018 edition, the captaincy was given to Shreyas Iyer, as the franchise made the semis in 2019 and finals in 2020.
The stylish batsman is one of the mainstays in India’s limited over sides, as he contributed some stellar performances in the limited over games in India’s tour of Australia last year. He followed that with another half-century in India's opening T20 game against England, as all other Indian batsmen struggled. He will resume this season's IPL with poise and vigor with the mission to win it all.
The Indian wicket-keeper batsman has become the talk of the town over the last couple of months, notching performance after performance carrying the team over the line. Rishabh Pant has risen amidst the voice of all his skeptics and offered some memorable victories for team India. The Indian batsman has constantly shown improvements in all aspects of his play and is quickly becoming one of the star performers of the Indian team.
The swashbuckling batsman had a stellar season after he was retained by Delhi ahead of the 2018 auction, scoring close to 700 runs at an astonishing strike rate of 173.60, and such is the talent possessed by the wicketkeeper-batsman. In the last edition of IPL, his talents did not exactly shine scoring only 343 runs in 14 games with only one half-century. He will be looking to correct those figures this time around.
The explosive batsman embers the aggressive attitude of ‘New India’ blended with the hunger to win matches. His role in the famous escape in Sydney and unlikely conquest in Brisbane, where his excellent counter-attacking innings carried the team over the line is reinventing batting in Test matches. Such is the form he will be carrying into the coming IPL and looking to stamp his mark.
One of the star performers of the Indian Test side, Ravichandran Ashwin has also made a long-lasting mark in the Indian Premier League. There are very few cricketers who can match the craft and wit of the off-spinner, bagging 138 wickets from 154 IPL matches. With endless variations up his sleeve, his carrom ball remains his most potent weapon. And as the most experienced bowler in the franchise’s lineup, his understanding of the game will be invaluable.
A precious asset to the Delhi Capital bowline lineup, Ravichandran Ashwin took 13 wickets from 15 matches at an economy rate of 7.66 in Abu Dhabi in the last edition of IPL. Now with the tournament back in India, his experience of the local grounds will serve him better.
The 34-year old has hit a good patch form as witnessed in his recent exploits in the Test series against Australia and England. He ended the series highest wicket-taker against England taking 32 wickets from 4 test matches. He did miss the opportunity for a rare double of a century and a ten for in the second test at Chennai. If these signs are anything to go by, everyone will be expecting the spin bowler to tear it up in the league.
The spearhead of the South African bowling attack, Kagiso Rabada paired up with his countryman Anrich Nortje can tear into any batting attack on their day. A traditional fast bowler who bowls at neck break pace with the occasional bouncer. And being just 25 years old, he is yet to achieve his peak potential.
Kagiso Rabada was at his best in the last edition of the IPL bagging 30 wickets in 17 matches, which included two four-wicket hauls eventually winning the purple cap for himself. With a count of 55 wickets, no other bowler in the league has taken more wickets than Kagiso Rabada in the last two editions of the Indian Premier League.
He carries this form in the International scene too, as he was among the wickets in South Africa’s test series against Pakistan. It was during this series he became the quickest to 200 wickets landmark in Tests. With his ability to swing the ball effortlessly and extract something out of tracks that offer nothing, He has established himself as one of the most fearsome bowlers.
With a solid team of performers who topped the charts in the last edition of the T20 league and some smart buys, Do you think Delhi Capitals can finally win the Indian Premier League championship or will they fall short?