Brad Hogg
Brad Hogg (Image Credit: Twitter)

IPL 2021 is all set to start with the knockout stage as Delhi Capitals, Chennai Super Kings, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Kolkata Knight Riders are the four teams to qualify for the playoffs.

CSK will take on table-toppers Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 1 match at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium on Sunday. The team that ends up losing will have one more shot to reach the final of IPL 2021.

Delhi Capitals topped the charts with 20 points because of their well-balanced side in terms of opening, middle order, pace bowlers and spin attack. Left-handed opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan is the team’s leading run-scorer, with 544 runs from 14 innings at the strike rate of 128.

The only weakness that the Delhi Capitals have got is that sixth batter: Brad Hogg

Dhawan was supported by a young Prithvi Shaw, whose form has slumped down during the second phase of IPL 2021, but Capitals have managed to score without any disturbance.  Shreyas Iyer returned to the side to stabilise their middle order, along with skipper Rishabh Pant, and Shimron Hetmyer has done a tremendous job to finish a few games for the team.

Former Australian spinner Brad Hogg pointed out that Delhi Capitals is missing a No.6 batter in their well-balanced side.

“Shaw and Dhawan, opening the batting, like the ball coming onto the bat. Chahar and Hazlewood will give that pace. Hazlewood likes to hit that good length, and Shaw likes to hit off it. If they can get early wickets against this prominent opener pair, CSK can be back in favour in the battle,” Hogg said on his YouTube channel. 

Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw
Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw (Image Credit: Twitter)

“Pant can dominate the slow bowlers in the middle-order. Shreyas and Hetmyer as well have found form, and they can take the game away. The only weakness that the Delhi Capitals have got is that sixth batter, where they have got Ripal Patel. I love the way he goes about his business. To play with freedom when you have got nothing to lose…” he added. 

Delhi Capitals are going to expose a lot of weaknesses in the CSK batting line-up: Brad Hogg

Delhi Capitals boasts of pace bowlers in the likes of South African pacers Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada, who are well complemented by Indian seamer Avesh Khan. Both Rabada and Nortje have been lethal for the Capitals throughout the tournament, and their superficial bowling is one of the reasons for the team’s success this season.

With 22 wickets from 14 games, Avesh Khan is their leading wicket-taker for DC. The 24-year-old has picked wickets in early overs and restricted the runs from the opposition in the death overs.

Hogg believes that Capitals bowlers can expose the insipid batting line-up of MS Dhoni and his men, who have relied primarily on their openers to supply the major portion of runs.

“Delhi Capitals have got better match-ups against Chennai Super Kings. If they play to the best of their ability, none of the other three teams in this competition can beat the Delhi Capitals. The only team that could beat Delhi on paper is not in this competition anymore – Mumbai Indians,” Hogg asserted.

“Delhi Capitals are the best because they are playing against the third-best team in the competition – Chennai Super Kings. Delhi Capitals are going to expose a lot of weaknesses in the Chennai line-up.

“If you look at the DC bowling line-up, they have got pace – Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan opening the bowling, (Kagiso) Rabada coming in the middle overs as well with the extra pace. They have two quality spinners in Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin.”

Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada
Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada (Image Credit: BCCI)

“Nortje and Avesh Khan against Faf du Plessis and Ruturaj Gaikwad, they are going to expose a few weaknesses with the short ball to both of those players. If they get early wickets, then they expose that middle-order, which is starting to fall out of form a little bit. Moeen Ali has lost his way a little bit.

“Uthappa hasn’t adopted that well to the middle-order role. If Raina comes back as well, he doesn’t like pace. I am not confident with Rayudu’s form at the moment, and Dhoni as well seems to be out of touch. They can’t rely on Jadeja and Bravo to make up for that weakness in the middle-order,” he added.

The loser of the match will face either Kolkata Knight Riders or Royal Challengers Bangalore in Qualifier 2 on October 13 in Sharjah.

Also Read: IPL 2021: I Am Going With Delhi Capitals To Win: Aakash Chopra On His Qualifier 1 Winner