The IPL is heading towards the business end of the tournament, and every match is crucial, as teams look to finish in the top four. Delhi Capitals will take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the match 42 of the tournament at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday afternoon. Delhi and Kolkata both are coming off losses they suffered by the hands of Punjab and Bangalore respectively.
Delhi, who are sitting at the top of the table with 14 points, will first and foremost want to seal their place in the top four, and then look to consolidate on the top two spots. They have concerns in their batting department as, despite Shikhar Dhawan’s brilliant century, Delhi could only manage 164- which was chased down by Punjab. The second-highest score by any DC batsman was 14! Their bowling led by Kagiso Rabada has looked strong throughout the tournament.
Here is a look at Delhi Capitals’ predicted XI:
After a couple of half-centuries in the early phase of the tournament, Prithvi Shaw has scores of 7,0,0, and 4 in his last four games and the right-hander is under heavy scrutiny, especially with Ajinkya Rahane on the bench.
Shaw has been guilty of lack of feet movement and has been exposed to short balls. However, the management has shown faith in him, and with no pressure of the points table, he will retain his place in the eleven. He would want to regain his form before the playoffs.
Shikhar Dhawan became the first player in the history of IPL to score back-to-back centuries when he struck three-figure scores against Chennai and Punjab. The left-hander has been in supreme touch as he has registered four consecutive fifty-plus scores. Delhi will once again have hopes on Dhawan to give them an aggressive start.
Shreyas Iyer is the backbone of the Delhi team. He has held the fort in the middle overs, and he is Delhi’s best bet to counter the Kolkata spinners. However, the skipper has got starts but is guilty of throwing it away. He has gone into double digits in every innings, but couldn’t convert it into a big knock, with two fifties to his name in 10 innings. He will once again be the enforcer in the middle overs.
Rishabh Pant made a comeback in Delhi’s previous game after recovering from an injury. Pant didn’t look at all in his old touch as he struggled for 14 runs off 20 balls. Even before he was injured, the left-hander hasn’t exactly set the IPL on fire as he has the highest score of 38. But there is never any question on Pant’s ability and Delhi Capitals would want their star batsman to make match-winning contributions as he has done in the past seasons.
The Australian all-rounder has been a big positive for Delhi Capitals. His half-centuries against Punjab and Bangalore earlier in the season put Delhi in a match-winning position. Marcus Stoinis has been regularly chipping in with wickets with the ball in hand.
Shimron Hetmyer hasn’t quite lived up to his reputation this tournament. He scored an attacking 45 against Rajasthan but had to be dropped because of the team combination when Rishabh Pant got injured. The left-hander returned in the previous game and faced six balls scoring 10 runs. He is key in Delhi’s lower order and will take up the finishing duties.
Axar Patel has taken up more responsibilities after Amit Mishra was ruled out of the tournament, and has been Delhi’s star performer in the spin department. He has picked eight wickets in nine matches with a miserly economy of 5.74. He has been choking the opposition with tight bowling in the middle overs. The left-hander has also been influential with the bat, as he won the game against CSK with three sixes in the last over.
In Amit Mishra’s absence, Ravichandran Ashwin has been Delhi’s seniormost spinner and has paired up superbly with Axar Patel. Apart from bowling in the middle phase of the game, Ashwin bowls with the new bowl as well in the powerplay. The off-spinner was man of the match against Rajasthan for his 2/22.
Anrich Nortje has been a pace sensation for Delhi as the South African has been hurling down thunderbolts from the bowling crease. He also broke the record for the fastest delivery in the IPL held by his compatriot Del Steyn. Nortje and Kagiso Rabada have been the key reason for Delhi’s dominance this season. Nortje was rested for the previous match, however, after suffering a loss, Delhi Capitals will surely bring back their pace generating machine in place of Daniel Sams.
With 21 wickets in 10 matches, Kagiso Rabada is the current holder of the purple cap. He has been brilliant right throughout the tournament and has not gone wicketless in any match! Rabada has teamed up with his countrymen, Anrich Nortje and both have a large onus to lead Delhi to their first title.
Harshal Patel, who has played four games this season, may come back after being dropped. Tushar Deshpande has been highly expensive in the three games he has played. Deshpande has a forgettable game against KXIP, as Chris Gayle went after the youngster- he ended up with figures of 2-0-41-0. Harshal Patel has three wickets in four games, and can also tonk the ball long with the bat.