Having finished at the bottom of the table in the 2018 season of the IPL, the franchise from Delhi has made some radical changes for the upcoming season of the IPL.
For starters, the name of the team has changed from Delhi Daredevils to Delhi Capitals. The reign of captaincy has shifted from the experienced Gautam Gambhir to the young Shreyas Iyer. Though Iyer led Delhi Capitals in a few games last season once Gambhir relinquished captaincy, leading the Delhi franchise for a full season will be an opportunity for Iyer to showcase his leadership skills.
The team from Delhi is the only team amongst the remaining 7 teams who are participating in this year's IPL to never have made it to the finals of the IPL. The last six seasons have been disastrous for the franchise from Delhi. They languished at the bottom of the table in the years 2013, 2014 and 2018 and finished 6th in 2016, 2017 and 7th in the year 2015.
However, this time around, the team from Delhi seems to be a well-balanced one with coach Ricky Ponting and could be considered as one of the underdogs for the 2019 IPL season.
Here is a look as to why the Delhi Capitals will be the dark horses in the 2019 IPL
#1 Strong batting line up comprising of young Indian players:
The main strength of the Delhi Capitals is the presence of young Indian batsmen in the top order.
To begin with, the Delhi Capitals made a wise move by picking up Shikhar Dhawan in the auction this year. The left-handed opening batsman from Delhi has been a consistent performer in the last three seasons of the IPL i.e. in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 and has scored 501, 479 and 497 runs in the said seasons. Dhawan is an experienced player at the top of the order and has scored 4057 runs in 142 IPL innings.
Prithvi Shaw, who had an impressive start to his international career in the 2 match Test series against West Indies will be looking to impress one and all with his batting in the IPL. Though the opener from Mumbai has played only 9 IPL games, he has 2 half-centuries to his credit and scores runs at a strike rate of 153.12. The 2019 IPL is a perfect platform for Shaw to score big runs and make a case for himself in the Indian team in white ball cricket.
21-year-old Rishabh Pant has proved himself as a wicket-keeper batsman at the Test level and has already scored a Test century in England and Australia. But he has not been able to establish his place in the Indian ODI and T20 team till date. He has been in and out of the Indian limited overs side and the 2019 IPL may determine whether Pant will be on the flight to England for the 2019 World Cup. The 21-year-old Pant has scored 1248 IPL runs at an impressive average of 35.66 and a more impressive strike rate of 162.71 with 8 half centuries and 1 century.
The captain of Delhi Capitals has a point to prove to the national selectors. After being overlooked from the national team, Shreyas Iyer expressed his disappointment. The 24-year-old batsman from Mumbai will look to lead his side from the front and score runs too. Iyer will look to improve his average of 30.45 in 46 innings by scoring big runs this IPL.
Hanuma Vihari is another young Indian batsman who is finding his feet in international cricket. Vihari was impressive in 4 Test matches he played for India and will look to justify his selection for Delhi Capitals. Till date, Vihari has played just 22 IPL games but has failed to set the stage on fire. However, with the experience of playing Test cricket overseas, Vihari will be a far better player and his role to stabilize the innings will be vital for the success of Delhi Capitals.
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#2 A strong and experienced bowling attack:
The biggest strength of the Delhi Capitals team is the experience in their bowling unit. The bowling comprises of fast bowlers as well as spinners who have the experience of playing international cricket.
The spin trio of Amit Mishra, Axar Patel, and Lamichhane appears to be an impressive unit. Mishra has been one of the veterans of IPL. The leg spinner has bagged 146 IPL wickets at an average of 24.14 and an impressive economy of 7.39. He has been the go-to man for the skipper. The 36-year-old Mishra is in the twilight of his cricket career and will look to sign off on a high in IPL.
Axar Patel, who previously played for Kings XI Punjab has found a place in the Delhi team this season. Patel, who at one point of time was a regular part of the Indian ODI team, lost faith with the selectors with the emergence of young wrist spinners. The 25-year-old spinner has tasted success with the ball in his IPL career. He has picked up 61 wickets at an average of 28.93. He has a strike rate of 126.57 with the bat and can be a perfect number 7 player for Delhi.
Sandeep Lamichhane impressed one and all with his performances in the 3 matches he played in the 2018 IPL. The 18-year-old leg spinner from Nepal has made rapid strides in his career since then. Lamichhane bowls effectively in the powerplays and the death overs and can be a real threat for the batsmen.
Ishant Sharma, the Delhi boy is excited to play for his home franchise. Though Ishant has been a vital member of the Indian Test team, he has been unable to establish his place in the Indian ODI and T 20 team. The 30-year-old fast bowler is a mature bowler having experience of playing 90 Tests. He has been inconsistent as far as his IPL performances are concerned. In 76 matches, he has picked up only 58 wickets at an average of 38.43/ Sharma will be desperately looking to improve his record and establish himself as the number one pacer for Delhi Capitals this season.
The presence of Trent Boult and Kagiso Rabada in the squad is the biggest asset for Delhi Capitals. Both Boult and Rabada have tasted success at the international level in all the three formats and will look to unsettle batsmen with their pace.
#3. Experienced international players:
Colin Munro is the only cricketer to score 3 centuries in T20 Internationals. The opener from New Zealand is an aggressive batsman at the top of the order and is a nightmare for the bowlers when in full flow. Munro has not been able to set the stage on fire in IPL so far and in 8 innings has scored only 93 runs. The fact that he scores runs at a strike rate of 162 in T 20 internationals makes him an asset at the top of the order for Delhi Capitals.
If Colin Munro fails to fire at the top of the order, Delhi Capitals have an option to replace him with Colin Ingram. The 33-year-old South African is a handy batsman at the T20 level and in 226 T20 matches, he has scored 5683 runs with 4 centuries and 36 half centuries. The experience of having Ingram in the playing 11 will be vital for young players like Shaw and Pant.
Chris Morris is an experienced player who has tasted success at the T 20 level all over the world. The 31-year-old all-rounder from South Africa has in 101 innings at the T20 level scored runs at an average of 25.05 and strike rate of 154.83. He has 199 wickets to his credit. Morris is an asset for any team and will look to establish himself as one of the four foreign players in the playing 11.
Delhi will have to choose between Lamichhane, Boult, and Rabada for the remaining two places of foreign players in the playing 11.
All in all the Delhi Capitals team is a well-balanced team who has the right mix of Indian as well as foreign players who have tasted success at the international level. Delhi will look to break the jinx of not playing an IPL final and will look to take a step forward and lift the IPL trophy this time around.
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