The potential match-winners, the focus as we look at the predicted playing 11 of Delhi Capitals (DC) for IPL 2021.
The runners-up of the 2020 edition of IPL, Delhi Capitals have been one of the most improved sides since their resurgence in 2019 under the leadership of Shreyas Iyer. They managed to finish 3rd in 2019 and 2nd in 2020. The team has always looked very strong from the outset as seen from performance in the last two years. Moreover, the 2021 Auction has given them some really good and important players to explore various combination.
The team managed to acquire two good overseas batsmen in the form of Steve Smith and Sam Billings, and a good all-rounder in the form of Tom Curran. In addition, the team managed to acquire some promising young talent in the form of Vishnu Vinod, Ripal Patel, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddharth, and the former DC player Umesh Yadav.
Looking at the list of hired players, does DC need to alter their strongest XI that we saw in 2020? Well, they certainly do get a lot of options to explore with new players. So, let’s look at the strongest predicted playing 11 for Delhi Capitals for IPL 2021 using different combinations. Before that, let’s quickly look at the complete squad of Delhi Capitals for IPL 2021.
Delhi Capitals’ Squad for IPL 2021:
Batsmen: Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant (WK), Sam Billings (WK), Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer,
Shreyas Iyer (C), Steve Smith & Vishnu Vinod (WK)
All-rounders: Axar Patel, Chris Woakes, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Ripal Patel & Tom Curran
Bowlers: Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddharth, Pravin Dubey & Umesh Yadav.
The Solid Core
Talking about the solid core for Delhi Capitals, 7 names definitely comes to my mind. The list includes Shikhar Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis at the top, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant in the middle-order, Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin in the all-rounder department, and finally Kagiso Rabada in the bowling department.
These are the players that are confirmed to play all the matches. They are proven to be match-winners, and would continue to do so as long as the form is with them. Apart from these, Shimron Hetmyer, Ishant Sharma, and Anrich Nortje should also play a lot of matches.
So, we have a core of 7 players in the form of Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Kagiso Rabada. Then we have 3 players, Shimron Hetmyer, Ishant Sharma, and Anrich Nortje, who should play a lot of matches ideally. This leaves us with 2 sports that Delhi Capitals will ponder upon.
Strongest Predicted Playing XI for Delhi Capitals for IPL 2021:
Talking about the strongest playing 11 for Delhi Capitals for IPL 2021, the team should definitely see the opening combination of Shikhar Dhawan and Marcus Stoinis to start with. While Marcus can play in the middle-order too, but as seen from the 2020 IPL and BBL edition, he is more dangerous at the top.
Following these two should be Ajinkya Rahane to start with. Rahane played at 3 for Delhi Capitals for a lot of matches in 2020. Going by the trend from last year, Delhi Capitals don’t have any other good option apart from Prithvi Shaw or Steve Smith to play at the top, hence Rahane should be persisted; at least initially.
The middle-order should definitely see the reliable duo of captain Shreyas Iyer at 4 and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant at 5. Meanwhile, Hetmyer played some really good knocks for DC in 2020, and him at 6 is a good option to have. However, Delhi can also try Sam Billings at 6 instead of Hetmyer if things don’t work out well with him.
Following him should be the all-rounder duo of Axar Patel and Ravi Ashwin. Both have been extremely good for DC last season, and their variety is considered as a blessing with one bowling left-arm spin and the other bowling right-arm off-spin. For the pace department, their leader of the attack, Kagiso Rabada and their 2020 bowling star, Anrich Nortje should once lead the bowling attack for DC.
The last option could be a toss-up between one of Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, and Umesh Yadav. While adding Mishra means more spin option for middle-overs, Ishant Sharma or Umesh Yadav provide good powerplay bowling options, which Delhi Capitals need more. However, between Umesh and Ishant, the latter seems a better prospect looking at the past performance.
Strongest Predicted 11 for Delhi Capitals (DC) for IPL 2021:
Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje & Ishant Sharma.
Option 1: Steve Smith for Ajinkya Rahane
The addition of Steve Smith to the playing 11 can help them strengthen their batting attack. The team’s main weak link currently is Ajinkya Rahane, whose T20 prospects aren’t bright. Having Smith at the top means, Rahane can be left out. That way DC’s top-order looks very strong. However, the drawback of this is, Nortje will then have to be left out, and Umesh gets a game then. However, bowling does look a little thin because of this.
Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Steve Smith, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Umesh Yadav & Ishant Sharma.
Option 2: Prithvi Shaw at the top
Prithvi Shaw has been struggling for form for the last year or so. Not only in the International format where he is dropped after a series of poor scores, but Shaw has also had a very poor IPL 2020 where his returns were mediocre. However, his recent burst in Vijay Hazare Trophy has made things interesting for the Mumbaikar.
If Shaw continues this form in the entire Vijay Hazare Trophy, he can as well retain the opener spot in IPL 2021, and Rahane can then be left out. Stoinis would be back to 5 or 6 position, and Iyer and Pant would advance by a place each.
Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje & Ishant Sharma.
Option 3: Tom Curran for Shimron Hetmyer
Tom Curran has recently been really impressive as an all-rounder playing for England. He also gave decent returns while playing for Rajasthan Royals. Curran can be a good hard hitter at 6, and a decent bowler who can give 2-3 overs. More importantly, having Curran in the side means, Ishant can be left out, and Mishra’s spin gets precedence.
So, that completes the strongest playing 11 for Delhi Capitals for IPL 2021. Barring the fixed core of 7 players, and the options that we saw, the team also has good backups. The list of which include Sam Billings, Chris Woakes, Lukman Meriwala, Avesh Khan, Vishnu Vinod, and Ripal Patel.
Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Ajinkya Rahane, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Tom Curran, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje.
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