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Rabada’s kind a slight concern for Capitals in opposition to assured Kings

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In a little bit of a rarity, scheduling sensible, Delhi Capitals and Punjab Kings will full each their head-to-head clashes inside the primary month of IPL 2021. On the Wankhede Stadium a fortnight in the past, the Capitals powered previous the Kings in a high-scoring thriller, the place dew and KL Rahul’s scoring charge each performed as main components within the end result as Shikhar Dhawan’s elegant 92 and Mayank Agarwal’s belligerent 69.

Agarwal missed the Kings’ final match, a convincing 34-run win in opposition to the high-flying Royal Challengers Bangalore, because of damage and it stays to be seen if he’ll have sufficient time to recuperate given solely a two-day hole between video games. Prabhsimran Singh performed in Agarwal’s place, although whether or not he too will get one other recreation might depend upon the mixture that the Kings decide to go together with.

In Chris Gayle, they’ve a readymade opener to companion Rahul anyway, whereas the bench has the likes of Mandeep Singh and Sarfaraz Khan who can slot into the center order. One different query the Kings must wrestle with is whether or not Nicholas Pooran retains his place within the XI. Pooran will be among the many most harmful batters in T20s, however he is had a very poor time of it in IPL 2021, with 4 geese in six innings. Ready within the wings is Dawid Malan, who can present preliminary solidity with the potential to speed up rapidly in a while. In different phrases, simply the sort of batsman the Kings would possibly want within the higher center order.

For the Capitals, issues are a lot rosier, notably given the type of their openers Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw. They’ve each been devastatingly good to date, and each went after the Kings assault all weapons blazing of their final match too. Maybe the Capitals’ solely level of fear is the type of Kagiso Rabada. Anticipated to spearhead the assault, he has taken solely 5 wickets in six video games whereas going at a reasonably excessive financial system charge of 8.72.

They are not prone to axe Rabada from the XI but, although the likes of Anrich Nortje and Chris Woakes are on the bench. The Capitals have weathered the lack of main bowling choices like Axar Patel (at first), R Ashwin (off late) and Amit Mishra (shoulder niggle within the final match) splendidly properly. Lalit Yadav stepped in for Mishra and took 2 for 13 in three overs in opposition to Kolkata Knight Riders, whereas Patel returned from Covid and quarantine to bowl them to a Tremendous Over win in opposition to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

One gamble price contemplating for the Capitals is bringing in somebody like Sam Billings for Steven Smith. Given the type of their different top-order males, Smith’s extra anchoring fashion suited to the highest order won’t be wanted, whereas Billings’ means to bat explosively decrease down may be extra precious.

Within the Information

Riley Meredith needed to go off the sphere in his closing over when a Kyle Jamieson thump acquired him on his proper knee, so his health for the sport is unsure. That would imply Jhye Richardson, the Kings’ different big-ticket tempo signing, will get one other probability within the XI.

Doubtless XIs

Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), 4 Marcus Stoinis, 5 Shimron Hetmyer, 6 Sam Billings, 7 Lalit Yadav, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Avesh Khan, 11 Ishant Sharma

Punjab Kings: 1 Mayank Agarwal/Prabhsimran Singh, 2 KL Rahul (capt, wk), 3 Chris Gayle, 4 Dawid Malan, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Shahrukh Khan, 7 Harpreet Brar, 8 Chris Jordan, 9 Jhye Richardson, 10 Ravi Bishnoi, 11 Mohammed Shami

Technique Punt

Rahul’s strike charge stays a perennial level of debate each time the Kings play, however this 12 months, he could have hit on a extra calibrated method that each satisfies the necessity for him to bat by the innings, with out getting slowed down. What Rahul has finished is counter-intuitive, but when the Kings work their game-plan proper, it might pay dividends. Rahul has begun very cautiously within the powerplays, which in IPL 2021 have been the overs the place groups have usually discovered it simpler to go onerous. Nevertheless, he has stepped it up significantly within the center overs – the interval the place run-scoring has been harder. Given Rahul’s all-range shot-making means, if that technique permits him to ultimately find yourself with a giant scores at strike charges of 150 or over, it is helpful for the Kings. However for it to work, he must have his fellow top-order batsmen going hell for leather-based within the powerplay in order that the Kings do not lose out. Rahul’s strike charge within the powerplay this 12 months is 96, versus 125 in IPL 2020. Nevertheless, his middle-overs strike charge this 12 months is 158, as in opposition to 120 final 12 months.

The Capitals’ array of left-handers prompted the Kings to incorporate Jalaj Saxena of their final recreation in opposition to them. Saxena confirmed good management, though the heavy dew and batsmen already in free-stroking mode meant free balls might be taken benefit of. It may be price a punt to carry Saxena again, but when the Kings do not wish to disturb a successful mixture, they might depend on Ravi Bishnoi to do the job. Bishnoi mixes a beneficiant quantity of googlies and sliders alongwith his leggies, and notably, had success in opposition to Rishabh Pant by bowling a large line outdoors off. Nevertheless, that was in IPL 2020, and with the Capitals’ having had time to review Bishnoi additional, it’s going to be attention-grabbing to see how their left-handers – Dhawan, Pant, Shimron Hetmyer, and even Axar Patel decrease down the order – adapt.

Stats that matter

  • KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan are the highest two run-getters in IPL 2021 to date, with Rahul having 331 runs at 136.21, and Dhawan scoring 311 runs at 131.77. Rahul’s standard stats are superior, however Dhawan has been his equal on ESPNcricinfo’s Good Stats. Whereas Rahul has 326 Good Runs, Dhawan is at 323, and Dhawan’s Good Strike Fee of 136.74 is definitely forward of Rahul’s 134.07. That is as a result of whereas they’ve each had a number of slower scoring innings, Rahul’s efforts have are available in larger scoring video games.
  • Amongst gamers who’ve confronted at the least 100 balls in IPL 2021, Prithvi Shaw’s strike charge of 165.03 is the very best of the lot. The second and third on the listing are AB de Villiers and Andre Russell.

Saurabh Somani is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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