In 11 years of the IPL, Delhi is the only team to not make it into the finals even once despite featuring in all 11 seasons. They have the lowest win percentage of 42.45 among the 8 IPL teams featuring in IPL 2019. It's not just the performances but also the luck which has often not gone their way. They have topped the league stage on 2 occasions but still didn't reach the finals. But this time around, the Delhi Capitals seem to be getting a lot of things right (let's ignore the new name :P). So here's a look at 4 reasons why DC is a serious contender to lift the trophy this season:
#4 Promising Indian Talent
Delhi Capitals' batting order features Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Hanuma Vihari. In the bowling department, they have experienced campaigners in the form of Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra. They also paid a hefty sum of Rs. 5 crores to get Axar Patel in the side as an all-rounder this season.
Now, either these players have already proved themselves on the international stage or are constantly making the headlines with their stellar domestic performances and are being considered as the next generation of cricketers who will represent India.
Kudos to DC's management for having built their core around the most promising bunch of Indian players. Most of these players, especially the batsmen, are also in the form of their lives.
Since the 2019 ODI World Cup is just after the IPL, having Indian players in key roles also mean that Delhi can have a relatively stable squad all through the tournament. Whereas, teams depending on foreign players might suffer in the later stages of the tournament as players will be called for national duties.
#3 Wreaking Havoc with Wrist Spin
In recent times, wrist spin has played a huge role in a team's success in the limited overs format of the game. The rise and wild success of Rashid Khan, Kuldeep Yadav, Yasir Shah, Yuzvendra Chahal to name a few, highlights how wrist spinners are dominating world cricket at the moment.
Delhi Capitals is rather in an enviable position as they have managed to bag 2 quality wrist spinners in the team. On one hand, is the veteran Amit Mishra, the 2nd highest wicket-taker in the history of the tournament, and also the record holder for the most hat-tricks in IPL. On the other, is the teenage spin sensation from Nepal, Sandeep Lamichanne, who has already created history by becoming the first player from Nepal to get drafted for the IPL and the CPL.
If DC manages to play both the spinners together then the oppositions are definitely not going to have an easy time.
#2 The balance of the squad
Delhi Capitals look a formidable, well-balanced unit ahead of the tournament. The management seems to have got the right mix of experience in the form of Shikhar Dhawan, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Chris Morris, Trent Boult and youngsters like Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Prithvi Shaw, Sandeep Lamichanne and the likes.
When it comes to roles, it looks the team has all the bases covered with promising options on the bench as well. Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw are the 2 openers with Colin Munro being the 3rd opener you need in a tournament as long as the IPL. Shreyas Iyer, the captain will play at No. 3 and will be followed by either Hanuma Vihari or Colin Ingram. Rishabh Pant will likely come at No. 5. Chris Morris could play the No. 6 and Axar be the No. 7. In the likely absence of Morris, during the later stages of the tournament, Keemo Paul and Sherfane Rutherford look good choices.
In the spin bowling department, Amit Mishra will be leading the attack with support from Axar Patel and Sandeep Lamichanne. The fast battery will be lead by Trent Boult or Kagiso Rabada with Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, and Bandaru Ayyappa chipping in important contributions whenever the opportunity presents itself.
To top it off, Delhi Capitals has roped in Ricky Ponting, who coached Mumbai Indians in the 2015 title victory, as the head coach for the season.
#1 A team of game changers
1 explosive inning or a masterful spell is all it takes in a T20 game to completely change its direction. This season Delhi is blessed to have more than a handful of players capable of doing so.
In Harsha Bhogle's 2018 T20 XI, 3 Delhi Capitals players featured: Shikhar Dhawan, Colin Munro, and Rishabh Pant, the most from any IPL 2019 squad. Besides these 3 game-changers, DC boasts of players like Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Chris Morris, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra, all of whom have the ability to change the game in the favor of Delhi single-handedly.
In fact, DC's captain Shreyas Iyer recently scored 147 runs in 55 balls in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, its the highest score by an Indian in T20 cricket.
Delhi's prospects this season definitely look a lot better than the previous ones. And it shouldn't be a huge surprise if they make it to the finals this time or maybe lift the trophy. What do you think? Let us know in the comments.