Last year’s runner-ups, Delhi Capitals, are all set to hit back as IPL 2021 kick starts on 9 April. The franchise was recently hit by the exit of skipper Shreyas Iyer, who was ruled out of the tournament due to a severe shoulder injury. The void forced the management to shift the responsibility to the shoulders of 23-year-old wicket-keeper batsman Rishabh Pant.
Over the years, Delhi Capitals have shown their brilliance as a team on many occasions. In IPL 2019, they were the 2nd runner-ups. The side bettered its record in 2020 to end the tournament one win short of the title. Boasting a mighty batting line-up, along with a potent pace attack, Delhi Capitals are a side with high chances of lifting the IPL trophy this year. Can they pull it off, though, especially under Rishabh Pant, who is the most inexperienced skipper at the tournament?
The franchise is sure to miss the services of Shreyas Iyer, both as a batsman and a leader. Rishabh Pant, the new skipper, has a solid batting lineup to bank upon. The batting department features star batters like Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shimron Hetmyer, Steve Smith, etc.
The bowling unit at Delhi Capitals is also one of the better ones. With Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Tom Curran, R Ashwin, and others in the ranks, Rishabh Pant has quite a few bowling options to rotate throughout the tournament. All-rounders in Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, and Axar Patel will also make the job easier for the management and the skipper.
Delhi Capitals, at IPL 2021, are just as strong if not more than the last season. The squad features some strong batsmen and a potent pace attack. While the franchise ticks most of the boxes, it will be interesting to see if the newly appointed skipper Rishabh Pant can lead the side to their maiden IPL title this year.
Delhi Capitals have one of the most lethal fast bowling units at IPL 2021. The South African duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje will, once again, try to dismantle the oppositions. Just in case you’ve been living under a rock, Rabada was also the Purple Cap winner last season. Then there are the likes of Ishant Sharma, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Avesh Khan, and Tom Curran, who are capable of providing support to Rabada the Nortje.
It’s not just the bowling unit, though, as Delhi Captials’ batting department, too, is one to watch out for. With the presence of skipper Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shimron Hetmyer, and Steve Smith, the batting prowess at the franchise packs a heavy punch. Cameos from all-rounders Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, and Axar Patel will further boost Delhi Capitals’ chances at IPL 2021.
One of the major weaknesses of Delhi Capitals is not having a backup for Rishabh Pant. Given Pant suffers a niggle, the team will have to bring in Sam Billings, and the change will force some other overseas player to walk out of the XI. There is also Vishnu Vinod from Kerala, but he is an inexperienced entity at this level.
The lack of like for replacements for Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje may also hurt the franchise at the tournament. Also, both Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav aren’t regulars in white-ball cricket for the Indian team and may find it difficult to find the rhythm in the shortest format.
Rishabh Pant has, for long, been compared with Indian cricket legend MS Dhoni. As a skipper, Pant will have a big opportunity to rub off the dust of comparison and lay down the foundation of his own legacy. Delhi Capitals ended up one win short of their maiden IPL title last year, and if Pant delivers the franchise its first-ever trophy, it will be some feat for a first-time IPL captain.
The entire tournament will be an opportunity for all of the squad members, including Indian and overseas, to prepare for the upcoming T20 World Cup. Since the mega tournament will also be held in India, IPL 2021 will give them all a good taste of the conditions.
Rishabh Pant is a vital element of the Delhi Capitals’ batting unit. In case the burden of captaincy affects Pant’s batting, things may become difficult for the team as well. Pant will have to ensure the added responsibility of leading the side doesn’t affect his natural game.
While a lethal bowling unit, Delhi Capitals don’t have like for like replacements for Rabada and Nortje. Moreover, Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav won’t really be able to match the level of the South African duo with their not-so-great T20 record.
Delhi Capitals have their first game at IPL 2021 slated for 10 April against Chennai Super Kings. The franchise will then have a four-day rest before it faces Rajasthan Royals on 15 April, and its campaign gains momentum. Since there are no home grounds this year for IPL teams, Delhi Capitals will play their league matches in Mumbai, Chennai, Ahmedabad, and Kolkata.
It will be the 2nd season of IPL that will transpire behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While fans won’t get the opportunity to witness their favourite cricketers perform at the stadium, a huge number of them will certainly watch the action unfold on their television screens. With that said, stay tuned to AlShorts, where you get news in 30 seconds, for all the updates from the biggest T20 saga of the year.