After spending years in turmoil, the Delhi Capitals finally turned it around last year when they made it to the Playoffs, for the first time since 2012. This year, they’ll be hoping to better it as they open their IPL 2020 campaign against Kings XI Punjab on Sunday. Ahead of their opening contest of the season, we take a look at what the Capitals’ Playing XI may look like.
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1 Shikhar Dhawan
Shikhar Dhawan last played cricket in January this year, when he returned scores of 96 and 74 against Australia in ODIs. Dhawan has been an integral part of Delhi’s IPL set-up and will be a crucial cog in their wheels this year. Opening the batting, Dhawan will share the responsibility to see off the new ball and use his experience to get the Capitals off to a flyer. Last year, Dhawan scored 521 runs from 16 matches and the left-hander will look to repeat his exploits.
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2 Prithvi Shaw
Prithvi Shaw has blown hot and cold ever since starting his international career with a century against West Indies in a Test match in 2018. Last year, a lot was expected from Shaw, but with 353 runs from 16 games, he couldn’t help his case much. Earlier this year, he made his ODI debut earlier this year and a good IPL season can kickstart his T20I career with an eye on next year’s World Cup.
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3 Shreyas Iyer (Captain)
Shreyas Iyer has not looked back since his return to the Indian cricket team post the World Cup last year. And that had a lot to do with the batsman’s success in the previous edition of the IPL. With 463 runs from 16 matches with three half-centuries, Iyer led the team from the front into the Playoffs and kept the middle order strong. With assists from fellow batsmen, Iyer will hope to transition his India form in the IPL if the Capitals are to have a chance at lifting their maiden IPL title.
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4 Ajinkya Rahane
Traded from the Rajasthan Royals, No. 4 may not be the most ideal position to bat at for Ajinkya Rahane but provided he can offer stability in the middle order, it can go a long way in reopening the doors of the national team. Rahane fancies the new ball and while he may not get to do that much batting in the middle order, the batsman has a wonderful chance to present his case provided he can be the floater of the Capitals.
5 Rishabh Pant (Wicketkeeper)
Rishabh Pant has been in the firing line for his inconsistent performance for India. That said, Pant had a wonderful IPL last year, scoring 488 runs including an explosive 78 not out against Mumbai Indians. Pant is a player to watch out for and if you’ve followed the Capitals’ social media handles, you’d know the power he packs behind those shots. A gun player, IPL 2020 could be the make or break season for the 21-year-old wicketkeeper.
6 Shimron Hetmyer
The West Indies youngster is capable of hitting the ball a long way. Like his West Indian teammates Kieron Pollard and Dwayne Bravo, No. 6 is the ideal position for Hetmyer to inject impetus into the scoring rate or finish matches for the Capitals. Last season, RCB made the mistake of under-utilising Hetmyer, giving him just five matches, in one of which he scored 73. Capitals, if you’re listening, do not make the same error in judgment.
7 R Ashwin
Traded from Kings XI Punjab, Ashwin may no longer be the captain of his IPL team but that doesn’t mean his role is minimised. A senior player, Ashwin is expected to be the lead spinner of the team and probably one whom the bowling attack may revolve around. He has been in the news for his Mankading tactics but if mentor Ricky Ponting is to be believed, Ashwin may want to give a warning to players at the non-striker’s end backing too much.
8 Ishant Sharma
The leader of the Capitals’s pace attack, there has been no Indian bowler who’s shown an improvement quite like Ishant Sharma. Even though Ishant didn’t have too many wickets to show for himself in the previous IPL – 13 wickets from 13 games, he had an economy rate of 7.5 and a strike-rate of 21.23. Ishant has been working hard in the nets with bowling coach Ryan Harris, who has underlined the fast bowler’s role as that of a leader.
9 Kagiso Rabada
Fresh off a break, South Africa’s pace spearhead Kagiso Rabada is raring to go for the Capitals. His pace, coupled by the accuracy in line and length makes him one of the best bowlers in the IPL. Rabada, who’s played a lot of cricket since his debut in 2014, has had the chance to reflect and reset. Rabada would be hopeful of a good IPL 2020 for the Capitals, a franchise whom he starred last year with 25 wickets, one short of Purple Cap winner Imran Tahir
10 Anrich Nortje
Rabada’s South Africa teammate Anrich Nortje is likely to get the nod ahead of veteran spinner Amit Mishra as the third frontline pacer of the Capitals attack. Nortje is express pace and had revealed his intentions of bowling with Rabada for the Capitals. A history of injuries has troubled the fast bowler in the fast but Nortje is eager to hit the ground running, hoping to return a memorable season for himself and his team.
11 Sandeep Lamichhane
Since his arrival in the Capitals, Sandeep Lamichhane, for some strange reason, has not gotten many opportunities to play. In two years combined, the leg-spinner from Nepal has played only nine games, which could stem from the four-overseas player rule. That said, the Capitals should not forget that Lamichhane has never been easy to get away with and it won’t be a surprise if the management turns to him to open the bowling and get some early wickets.