League position – 3
Matches – 14
Wins – 9
Losses – 5
Proven international performers have been key to Delhi’s strong run this season with Shikhar Dhawan and Kagiso Rabada playing their parts to guide an otherwise inexperienced squad to their first playoff appearance since 2012.
South African ace Rabada has been nothing short of sensational with the ball with the Purple Cap holder’s 25 wickets coming at a strike-rate of just 11.28. Dhawan has impressed with the bat after an indifferent start with the India opener nearing 500 runs in the edition on the back of five half-centuries.
It was this kind of experience that Delhi sorely lacked last season where their young squad showed only fleeting glimpses of their potential.
While there have been many factors for Delhi’s success this season, they have struggled at times to finish off games while chasing. This shortcoming comes mainly due to the inexperience of their young Indian core including Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw.
It was most evident in their early-season clash against Kings XI Punjab when they collapsed dramatically to lose seven wickets for just eight runs. There have been several other occasional where they have stumbled across the finish line and that has reflected in Delhi’s net run-rate which is the lowest of all four teams to have qualified for the playoffs.
It has been a highly disappointing individual campaign for young Prithvi Shaw after his breakthrough year in international cricket. The right-handed opener is averaging just above 20 with the bat in the ongoing campaign with just one half-century to show from 14 innings.
Shaw’s ability has never been in question and the youngster now has a chance to bounce back into form just when the team needs it the most.
Delhi will go into the playoff battle severely handicapped by the absence of Kagiso Rabada who has now returned home. Without the South African’s wicket-taking abilities, Delhi could really struggle in the pace department. They will now hope that Trent Boult can take over the mantle from Rabada but the Kiwi stalwart could be rusty having featured just three times over the course of the season.
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