Delhi Capitals enjoyed their best IPL season last time out and will be hoping to go one better in 2021 to claim their first title. DC were the early front runners in the UAE but ran out of steam, ending runners up to the Mumbai Indians.
Ricky Ponting is an astute head coach and, along with a rapidly maturing 26-year-old skipper Shreyas Iyer, they possess a side packed with young stars that will return stronger for another year’s experience. .
Since the last edition, players like Shreyas, Rishabh Pant and Axar Patel have starred with the Indian international side and should be full of confidence.
Delhi Capitals IPL Record
Shreyas Iyer (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Ishant Sharma, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Avesh Khan, Ravichandran Ashwin, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Chris Woakes, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Hussain Meriwala, M Siddharth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings.
Shreyas Iyer (captain), Ricky Ponting (head coach), Mohammad Asif (asst coach), Samuel Badree (spin bowling coach), Ryan Harris (fast bowling coach).
AUCTION ACTIVITY 2021
INS: Tom Curran (RS 5.25 crore), Steven Smith (RS 2.20 crore), Sam Billings (RS 2.20 crore), Umesh Yadav (RS 1.00 crore), Ripal Patel (Rs 20 lakh), Vishnu Vinod (Rs 20 lakh), Lukman Hussain Meriwala (Rs 20 lakh), M Siddharth (Rs 20 lakh).
OUTS: Daniel Sams, Harshal Patel (transferred out). Jason Roy, Sandeep Lamichhane, Mohit Sharma, Tushar Deshpande, Keemo Paul, Alex Carey (all released).
DELHI CAPITALS’s CHANCES in 2021
The finalists last season did not test Mumbai Indians in the final but they undoubtedly impressed, particularly in the first half of the tournament. Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting is a head coach with a tremendous cricket brain and Delhi did some astute business in the close season.
The purchase of Steven Smith at a seemingly bargain price of RS 2.20 crore adds quality to their middle order and provides another experienced brain for Shreyas to pick. Some suggest the purchase of the Aussie batting star is a risk, but after a disappointing season as captain of Rajasthan Royals last season, he has a lot to prove and will be highly motivated to show his worth.
With Tom Curran, Sam Billings and Umesh Yadav joining a strong core group, the Capitals have plenty of quality and good balance to cope with neutral venues.
The South African pace duo of 2020 Purple Cap winner Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje took 52 wickets between them. With Axar Patel’s meagre economy and Ravichandran Ashwin’s experience they also possess two of the best spinners.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan was the second highest run scorer in the last IPL and Shreyas was fourth in the tournament. Add in Smith and the firepower of Marcus Stoinis and Rishabh Pant and all bases are covered. They will certainly be good to watch.
MARCUS STOINIS is an Australian all-rounder that scores his runs quickly and will be looking to improve on his three fifties last season. If he can be more productive at the top of the Capitals order it will add early impetus into their batting and provide the likes of Iyer, Smith and Pant with a platform from which to thrive.
A productive opening partnership is a major asset for any side and alongside a Dhawan that reproduces his superb form of IPL 13 it would make the Capitals very difficult to beat. Stoinis can be expensive with the ball but gives his skipper options in the field and is not afraid to bowl the all-important death overs if required.
RISHABH PANT has always been a bundle of energy, flare and talent and his pivotal performances in the Tests against Australia and England this winter sees the hard-hitting Indian left-hander enter this edition of the IPL in a far more confident mood than last season. He can rapidly change a game with the bat and his keeping has improved significantly after considerable hard work. If Pant fires he can undoubtedly add to his 343 runs at a low strike-rate of 113.95 in a disappointing last edition.
KAGISO RABADA took 30 wickets to claim the Purple Cap last season. He did all of that at an economy rate of 8.34 and alongside countryman Anrich Nortje forged a fast bowling pairing that threatened all opponents. The 25-year-old is only just coming into his peak years and the Capitals will be hoping he can stay fit throughout. Rabada will be a threat for the purple head gear once again.
YOUNGSTER TO WATCH: PRITHVI SHAW
21-year-old Shaw has been spoken about as one of the next big things in Indian cricket from an early age, but his passage to potential greatness hasn’t always been a smooth one. Five Tests, including a century on debut, and three ODIs appeared to mark the start of a long and distinguished international career, but he was dropped after the 36 all out in Adelaide this winter. His last IPL fell apart and he was dropped after 228 runs in 13 inns. This winter however he has scored plenty of runs for Mumbai in List A cricket, including four List A hundreds in February/March and he will be keen to remind everyone of his talent.
WHERE WILL DELHI CAPITALS FINISH?
There will be seven teams trying to knock Delhi off their upward curve, but they have a team that is one year wiser, has made some decent additions, and there will be plenty of belief. They have the capacity to win their first title but should at least make the playoffs.
James Buttler is a cricket journalist, broadcaster and host of the Cricket Badger Podcast. You can tune into the IPL Daily editions here: https://podfollow.com/cricket-badger-podcast