IPL Wins: Nil
Coach: Ricky Ponting
Captain: Rishabh Pant
The Ricky Ponting-coached Dehli Capitals was one of the stories of last year’s tournament as they finished off strongly to qualify for the franchise’s first-ever final. Having lost the final, the Capitals will be looking to go one step further this season with some big changes to the squad.
Bringing in the likes of Steve Smith who was let go by Rajasthan and Umesh Yadav allows for a more experienced line-up, which will contrast Rishabh Pant’s inexperience as captain.
The way Capitals thrived last year was through the fast bowling department, which contained the South African speed duo of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje and Indian veteran Ishant Sharma. Having retained the three quicks, The Capitals bowling attack will again prove their main weapon as they mount thier assault for its maiden title
Rishabh Pant– Over the last 12 months, no one has made their mark on the international scene more than Rishabh Pant. His exploits in Australia to singlehandedly win India the series were remarkable.
No one in world cricket is as brutal a hitter as Pant. His ability to strike any ball over the fence is mesmerizing. Given the responsibility of captaining this side in the absence of Shreyas Iyer, it will be interesting to see whether he thrives with the added workload.
2020 was a difficult IPL for Pant. Apart from a lone 50 in the final, his season was incredibly barren. 343 runs at 31 isn’t a horrible campaign, but the strike rate of 113 was worrying Capitals fans. Scoring at a rate of 113 actively loses your side games. However, since that final, Pants fortunes have changed, with massive series against Australia and England.
Overall, Pant’s IPL record is phenomenal, 2079 runs striking at 151. If he can continue his recent form with the bat, he may well take Delhi to their first competition win.
Marcus Stoinis: While Stoinis has been in and around international cricket for a few years, it was last year’s IPL where he flourished. Following a disappointing 50 over World cup in England in 2019, being coached by fellow Australian Ricky Ponting has seemed to do wonders for Stoinis and his development as a cricketer.
A massive positive for Stoinis is his flexibility. He opens the batting for the Melbourne Stars and bats in the middle order for Australia. A Criticism of Stoinis has been his slow start with the bat, however, he can make up for this with massive hitting at the death.
Stoinis managed 352 runs last season at 25, not a huge return but considering his middle-order spot, it was impressive. Scoring at a strike rate of 148 was the real key for Stoinis, smashing 16 sixes and 31 fours in the season. The highlight was a 26 ball 53 against RCB.
These middle-order cameos are keys to victory in the IPL. In 2021 Stoinis will play a crucial part in the Capitals’ run to the final. Ponting is no doubt excited to have Stoinis back in blue.
Player to Watch
Steve Smith- The former Australian captain has had a difficult time in the IPL as of late. He was let go by the Rajasthan Royals after last season where he captained the side. He was taken by Dehli in the auction for a low amount for someone of his calibre, only $400,000. The question for the Capitals is where Smith can fit in the order. Ponting is a fan of Smith and perhaps the only modern batsman able to compete with him. However, T20 has never been Smith’s favoured format and will likely not start in the eleven. He will compete with Hetmyer for the number 5 spot.
Last season wasn’t Smith’s best; only 311 runs at 25 for Rajasthan. Overall his IPL record is excellent, although his strike rate could do with some improvement. 2333 runs at 35 as an overall record puts him in the upper echelon of overseas players.
Smith is no doubt a player to watch, arguably the best batsman in the world. When given an opportunity, Smith will no doubt look to stamp his authority on the competition.
Marcus Stoinis- The second half of Australia great cricketing romance. Offering the Capitals flexibility, Stoinis has the ability to bat anywhere from 1 to 7. He has the ability to build massive innings as well as being an athletic fielder and handy middle over bowler. Ponting’s men will be relying on Stoinis in 2021.
Steve Smith- Perhaps the greatest batsman in the world and already an Australian legend. Smith will provide many headaches for Ponting, deciding whether he can afford to keep Smith out of the side. Smith offers the Capitals a world class anchor batsman and a backup captaincy option.
S Dhawan, P Shaw, A Rahane, R Pant, S Hetmyer, M Stoinis, A Patel, R Ashwin, C Woakes, T Curran, I Sharma
Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada (South Africa), Prithvi Shaw, Ravichandran Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis (Australia), Shimron Hetmyer (West Indies), Chris Woakes (England), Anrich Nortje (South Africa), Steve Smith (Australia), Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Lukman Hussain Meriwala, M Siddharth, Tom Curran (England), Sam Billings (England), Pravin Dubey, Vishnu Vinod