IPL 2019, DC vs KXIP: Can Capitals break the home-ground jinx?

Delhi Capitals will hope to arrest its poor run of form at home — it has lost three out of four matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla — when it faces Kings XI Punjab on Saturday.

No home comfort: Delhi Capitals has won just one of its four matches at the Ferozeshah Kotla this year.   -  AFP

Considering every team plays half of its group games at home, a winning run at home is sine qua non for teams aspiring to reach the playoffs. Having lost three out of four matches at home, Delhi Capitals will therefore be eager to move on quickly from its tame defeat against Mumbai Indians on Thursday to garner a much-needed win at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Saturday.

It faces Kings XI Punjab, which had turned the tables on Capitals in Mohali earlier this month, triggering a dramatic collapse that left Capitals stumbling to a 14-run defeat. And after yet another batting capitulation on Thursday, the side will be under pressure to replicate the form that resulted in three away wins in a row.

READ | No guarantee with Kotla pitch, says Punjab coach Mike Hesson

On paper, however, both teams are evenly placed, having secured five wins out of nine matches so far. Moreover, Kings XI has injuries to worry about – to Moises Henriques, the all-rounder; to Mujeeb Ur Rahman, the off-spinner; and to C. V. Varun, the leg-spinner. On a surface likely to assist spin, off-spinner R. Ashwin, the captain, and M. Ashwin, the leg-spinner, will be expected to shoulder much of the responsibility to contain the opposition. Mujeeb, who was injured in the contest against Rajasthan Royals earlier this week, may come in as the third spinner if he is declared fit.

Kings XI's openers are in good form. K.L. Rahul has three half-centuries and a century in five matches and is currently in the second spot among the leading run-getters in the league. Chris Gayle, with 352 runs, is 35 runs lighter than Rahul, having played a contest less. It includes an unbeaten 99 against Royal Challengers Bangalore last week.

Leading the charge: K.L. Rahul has scored the most runs in the ongoing season. PHOTO: SANDEEP SAXENA

 

Hard-hitting David Miller, who started off impressively, is due for a big score and is a threat, too. So is No. 3 Mayank Agarwal, the flamboyant strokemaker.

However, it is with the ball that Kings XI can deeply unsettle Capitals. Any collapse is likely to be caused by spinners, on a track that may have variable bounce, little pace, and plenty of turn.

READ | Miller: 'Good to stay in the game before World Cup'

Smarting from the defeat against Mumbai Indians, Capitals would be keen to bat better against spin. On the bright side, all its batsmen have runs under their belt. Its bowling unit is competent, too; fast bowlers Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris and Ishant Sharma have been disciplined and effective on many occasions, and spinners Amit Mishra and Axar Patel have been frugal.

The side may be tempted to field a third spinner in place of Keemo Paul, who had a forgettable outing on Thursday.

SQUADS

DELHI CAPITALS: Shreyas Iyer (c), Colin Munro, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Hanuma Vihari, Colin Ingram, Manjot Kalra, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Jalaj Saxena, Rahul Tewatia, Rishabh Pant, Ankush Bains, Sandeep Lamichhane, Avesh Khan, Harshal Patel, Trent Boult, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Nathu Singh and Bandaru Ayyappa.

KINGS XI PUNJAB: R. Ashwin (c), Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, K. L. Rahul, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Andrew Tye, Chris Gayle, Ankit Rajpoot, M. Ashwin, Karun Nair, C. V. Varun, Arshdeep Singh, Sam Curran, David Miller, Sarfaraz Khan, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Simran Singh, Hardus Viljoen, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande.