Delhi Capitals braces for Super Kings challenge

Having got off to a winning start to its campaign, Delhi Capitals will look to back it up with its first win at home.

Rishabh Pant’s awe-inspiring strokeplay may just give Capitals the psychological edge to conjure a winning run for a change.   -  Getty Images

Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings have had contrasting levels of success in the Indian Premier League, but on Tuesday, no team will be favourite as the new-look Capitals plays its first home game a day after having rolled over Mumbai Indians in a run-fest. Rishabh Pant’s awe-inspiring strokeplay may just give Capitals the psychological edge to conjure a winning run for a change. The magnitude of the win has given it the top spot in the points table.

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The outfit is working hard and training well, Ricky Ponting, the Capitals head coach, revealed on Monday, and results on the field may just help it go a long distance this time. It’s early days, yet, and its resolve will be tested against another potent side, which may be vulnerable early on in the competition.

Spin, the weapon Super Kings used well to rattle Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday, may well be hard to tackle on the likely low, slow track at the Ferozeshah Kotla here. Harbhajan Singh, who took three wickets in the first contest, may likely get a game again, given the numerous left-handers in the Capitals line-up.

READ: ‘Pant will win many more games for DC’ - Ponting

Capitals also has a well-rounded squad this time, possessing the likes of leg-spinners Amit Mishra and Sandeep Lamichhane, left-arm spinner Axar Patel, and off-spinner Jalaj Saxena, to call upon. None of Super Kings’ batsmen have taken flight yet, and it might be an ideal time to disallow them from setting the tone early on.

For Shreyas Iyer, the Capitals captain, it will be an opportunity to make a mark. Iyer, who has an outside chance of making it to the World Cup, will hope to be at his attacking best after having got off to a tepid start with the bat.

Much attention will be on M. S. Dhoni, the Super Kings captain. He will like to show his prowess with the bat that lit up his team’s campaign last season. He is in good form – having made significant contributions with the bat in India’s One-Day International wins against Australia in Ranchi and Bengaluru – and well rested, too.

ALSO READ: Fleming: ‘I’d love M. S. Dhoni to carry on with CSK’

Much will be expected also from his wicketkeeping counterpart, Pant. Pant had replaced Dhoni in the ODI series for the last two contests, but couldn’t make much of an impact. Unlike Dhoni, Pant’s place is not virtually assured in the Indian squad for the World Cup, and at his home ground, he will like to carry on in the same vein as on Sunday. Stephen Fleming, the Super Kings head coach, cautioned his side against planning too much for one player, but his side will certainly be wary of Pant’s calibre.

But can he adapt to testing pitches? Ponting revealed he had matured in the last few months; his perspicaciousness will likely be tested on Tuesday, as he may be required to graft. 

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.

CHENNAI SUPER KINGS: M. S. Dhoni, Suresh Raina, Deepak Chahar, K. M. Asif, Karn Sharma, Dhruv Shorey, Faf du Plessis, M Vijay, Ravindra Jadeja, Sam Billings, Mitchell Santner, Dwayne Bravo, Shane Watson, Imran Tahir, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh, N Jagadeesan, Shardul Thakur, Monu Kumar, Chaitanya Bishnoi, Mohit Sharma, Ruturaj Gaikwad.

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