IPL 2019: Delhi Capitals' inexperience under the microscope as they look to avenge horror show against KXIP

Aditya Devavrat 19:06 19/04/2019
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Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant are under the scanner for their inconsistent form.

Delhi Capitals won’t have fond memories of their last meeting with Kings XI Punjab. Chasing 167, Delhi were cruising at 144/3, then inexplicably lost their last seven wickets for eight runs, with Sam Curran taking a hat-trick.

The result highlighted Delhi’s inexperience, and though they’ve remained in playoff contention their ability under pressure continues to be scrutinised.

Punjab are searching for consistency in a season where they haven’t won or lost more than two straight games. Having beaten Rajasthan Royals last time out, now is the perfect time to go on a winning run and cement a playoff spot.

DELHI’S YOUNG BATSMEN NEED TO LEARN LESSONS

Inexperience has been Delhi’s Achilles heel in recent seasons, as their batting lineup relies on immensely talented players still learning their trade.

That has meant a feast-or-famine season for two key Delhi batsmen. Rishabh Pant hit 78 off 27 in Delhi’s season opener, and since then has only crossed 30 twice, while opener Prithvi Shaw has a top score of 99 but a second-highest score of 28.

Shreyas Iyer and Shikhar Dhawan are the only Delhi players with three or more 40+ scores. They sacrifice explosiveness – their strike rates are 119 and 130 respectively, while Pant and Shaw score at 155 and 141 – for substance.

Kings XI’s openers, KL Rahul and Chris Gayle, often start slow because they know they can make it up later – a lesson for Shaw. And how lethal a batsman could Pant be if he learned how to build an innings like his more experienced team-mates?

Pant and Shaw have been taking lessons from legends - now it's time to put them to use.

Pant and Shaw have been taking lessons from legends – now it’s time to put them to use.

KINGS XI SWEAT OVER MUJEEB FITNESS

What had been a strange season for Mujeeb Ur Rahman took a turn for the worse in Kings XI’s last match. Playing just his fourth game of IPL 2019, an odd selection decision that has never been explained, the young Afghan spinner injured himself while fielding at the boundary against Rajasthan, in a similar fashion to Mumbai Indians pacer Alzarri Joseph – who is duly missing the rest of the season with a dislocated shoulder.

It’s not sure if Mujeeb’s injury is as severe, but even being forced to miss just a few matches will create a selection and strategy headache for Punjab. They won’t be able to play three spinners, thanks to leg-spinner Varun Chakravarthy’s fractured finger.

Curran is the likeliest replacement, and though he has brought mixed returns so far, just the sight of him could bring back bad memories for Delhi after his hat-trick in the previous encounter.

Mujeeb's injury looked a bad one.

Mujeeb’s injury looked a bad one.

LIKELY XIs

Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (c), Colin Ingram, Rishabh Pant (wk), Chris Morris, Axar Patel, Keemo Paul, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma

Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Mandeep Singh, Ravi Ashwin (c), Mujeeb ur Rahman/Sam Curran, Mohammad Shami, Murugan Ashwin, Arshdeep Singh

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