Delhi Capitals – IPL 2021 Preview

Delhi Capitals – IPL 2021 Preview
15.03.2021,13:03 287 0

Delhi Capitals were formerly known as Delhi Daredevils. They haven’t had a very successful journey in the IPL so far. Having been consistently at the bottom of the table, they managed to reach the league’s playoffs very rarely. It took them 13 years to make the first appearance in the finals of the IPL. They did start off well in an initial couple of seasons but then their performance was consistently degrading over time until very recently. They are still hoping for their first IPL title.

Let’s take a look at their history in the IPL, players they have got in the recent IPL auctions and things to look forward to in the IPL 2021.

Through the Years in IPL

Delhi Capitals are an IPL franchise from the capital of India, Delhi – hence the name. They started their IPL journey as Delhi Daredevils in the inaugural season in 2008. GMR Group was their sole owner then. In 2018, GSW group became their joint owners with 50% ownership and that was when they changed the franchise name to Delhi Capitals.

The franchise from Delhi did start the IPL campaign well by reaching the semifinal in their first-ever campaign in 2008 where they lost to the eventual winners Rajasthan Royals. In the very next season, in the IPL 2009, they topped the points table after the league stage but again went no further than the semifinal. In the next 11 years, barring IPL 2012 when they reached the playoffs, the Delhi franchise was consistently in the bottom half of the table. This changed in 2019 when they reached the playoffs and in 2020, they appeared in their first-ever IPL final under the leadership of Shreyas Iyer. Unfortunately, they lost their final battle to Mumbai Indians.

With just 5 playoff entries in 13 seasons, their record is one of the lowest in the history of IPL. However, once they became Delhi Capitals, they have looked like a completely different side. The franchise’s young and dynamic players like Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant are redefining the way they are playing in the IPL which was evident in the IPL 2020 in Dubai.

Delhi Capitals (Daredevils then) also qualified for the Champions League Twenty20 in the years 2009 and 2012. They could reach the semifinal stage in 2012, whereas in 2009 they were out during the league stage of the tournament.

Inconsistency in retaining a core squad has been an issue with Delhi which probably resulted in them not winning a trophy so far. They changed their players and captains often. The players that left Delhi franchise became crucial players, even captains (ex: Gautam Gambhir) of other IPL franchises. Delhi Capitals would like to change that under the captainship of Shreyas Iyer and able coaching of Australian legend Ricky Ponting.

Top Players

Batsmen 

Shikhar Dhawan (5197 runs in 175 innings at an average of 34.41 with 2 centuries and 41 fifties), now retired Gautam Gambhir (4127 runs at an average of 31.23 with 36 fifties) and Ajinkya Rahane (3933 runs at an average of 31.71 with 2 centuries and 28 fifties) are the top scorers in the current squad of Delhi Capitals. However, none of them has represented Delhi for a long time. Shikhar Dhawan played most of his matches for Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), while Gautam Gambhir, barring a few years at the start of the IPL, played mostly or Kolkata Knight Riders. Ajinkya Rahane, on the other hand, has joined Delhi Capitals very recently. None of these cricketers can be called a true Delhi player.

That gets us to the next two players among the best batsmen for Delhi – Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant. Both of them have scored more than 2000 runs at an average of above 30 and both have been predominantly Delhi players. They make the core of the Delhi batting and with Rahane and Dhawan around, Delhi Capitals batting looks rather promising.

Bowlers 

With 160 wickets in 150 innings, Amit Mishra has been the top bowler for Delhi Capitals over the years. His economy rate is 7.34 and he has a strike rate of under 20. He has 3 four-wicket hauls and 1 five-wicket haul in the IPL. More importantly, he is the second-highest wicket-taker in the IPL overall behind legendary Lasith Malinga. The wristy leg spinner has turned many games for his team. Delhi would expect the same in 2021 as well.

Just behind Mishra is another able spinner – Ravichandran Ashwin (138 wickets in 151 innings with an economy of under 7 runs per over). He played most of his IPL matches for CSK but his recent addition to the Delhi squad has proved beneficial. Moreover, the recent addition of Kagiso Rabada has also given the Capitals a boost. In the last season, he was the top wicket-taker across teams. In general, Rabada is one of the top bowlers in world cricket today.

All-Rounders

The lack of a quality all-rounder has been an issue with Delhi Capitals over the years. Axar Patel comes close to being their best all-rounder in the IPL so far with close to 1000 runs and 80 wickets in 97 IPL matches so far. Axar has to be elated with his recent success in the Tests against England and would be keen to carry on his great performance in the IPL as well.

IPL 2021 Auctions

Delhi Capitals uncharacteristically retained most of the players in the previous IPL. The reason behind this could be the fact that it’s a newly formed team. So, not many changes were needed. It’s always good when a franchise backs the players in the squad for long and just tries to fill in the gaps during the auctions.

Before the IPL Auction 2021 began, Delhi Capitals had had just INR 13.4 Cr in the kitty. They retained most of the players while releasing just 6 players from the squad. Some key releases were Alex Carey from Australia and Jason Roy from England. Mohit Sharma, an experienced campaigner in the IPL, was also released.

Let’s take a look at the players retained and left out by Delhi Capitals before the 2021 auctions.

Players RetainedPlayers Left out
Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, R Ashwin, Lalit Yadav, Avesh Khan, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Chris WoakesMohit Sharma, Tushar Deshpande, Keemo Paul, Sandeep Lamichhane, Alex Carey, Jason Roy

There were certain gaps Delhi Capitals were looking to fill in including a backup for wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant and a reliable middle-order batsman after a poor show from Shemron Hetmyer in the IPL 2020 season. They went for Steve Smith and to everyone’s surprise, got him for INR 2.2 Cr, just 10% over his base price. RCB did make a bid for Smith but bailed out immediately.

Delhi Capitals were also delighted to get Umesh Yadav for a base price of INR 1 Cr. English all-rounder Tom Curran was their costliest buy this season as they got him for 5.35 Cr. They also got Sam Billings for INR 3 Cr, especially as a backup for Rishabh Pant behind the wickets. They also went for 4 uncapped Indian players for their base price of INR 20 Lakh.

Below you can find a list of players bought by Delhi Capitals in the 2021 IPL Auctions.

Players Bought (Price INR)
Tom Curran (INR 5.25 crore), Steven Smith (INR 2.2 crore), Sam Billings (INR 2 crore), Umesh Yadav (INR 1 crore), Ripal Patel (INR 20 lakh), Vishnu Vinod (INR 20 lakh), Lukman Meriwala (INR 20 lakh), M Siddharth (INR 20 lakh)

Important Players in IPL 2021

Delhi Capitals were superb in the last season. They have had their players and strategies worked out and they were able to perform well in the IPL 2020 in Dubai to reach their first-ever IPL final under the leadership of Shreyas Iyer who remains one of the most important players in the top order of Delhi Capitals. He has over 2000 IPL runs and with captainship, his batting seems to be going up all the time. The sure place in the Indian international squad is helping his confidence. With 519 runs in 17 innings with 3 fifties, Shreyas was the second-highest scorer for Delhi Capitals.

Rishabh Pant ranks high on the list of top players for Delhi Capitals. He has been great for quite a few seasons now, but this time, it seems he got the team to back it up. In the 2018 IPL, he scored 684 runs at a strike rate of over 170 and an average of 52. He has risen in the international ranks since then and has looked even deadlier in the IPL.

Shikhar Dhawan brings experience to this new side. He scored back-to-back centuries in the last IPL and was the top scorer for Delhi Capitals. His presence at the top of the order is assuring for the Capitals.

Kagiso Rabada was one of the main reasons Delhi reached the final in the 2020 season. He was the Purple cap holder with 30 wickets in 17 innings. It’s a pity Delhi didn’t win the IPL 2020 with such an amazing squad.

Conclusion

Delhi Capitals have performed well in the last few seasons. They have held on to the core team and have tried to fill in the gaps in this year’s auctions. The presence of the two of the most dynamic young players, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant, in the squad would boost their confidence a lot. Last year, they learnt to cross the semifinal barrier which they failed to do multiple times in the earlier seasons. With a balanced squad and in-form players, it will be interesting to see if they can go all the way to clinch the trophy in the IPL 2021.

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