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Gujarat look to feast on Delhi's misery

Last updated on 01 May 2023 | 11:30 AM
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Gujarat look to feast on Delhi's misery

Delhi Capitals don’t have a great side on paper but have also made too many tactical blunders

We have got two sides standing on opposite ends of the spectrum. If Gujarat Titans can win a game from any situation, Delhi Capitals can snatch a defeat from the jaws of victory. We are not exaggerating. All you have to do is look at what the Capitals did in their previous encounter against Sunrisers Hyderabad. They surely don’t have a great side on paper but have also made many tactical blunders.

On the other hand, the Titans have already proved to everyone that the last season was no fluke. Having won six of their eight games, Hardik Pandya and his men look like one of the red-hot favourites to lift the title. They are a team who don’t rely on two-three talents, and 13 different recipients of the Player of the Match award in 18 games they have won since last year supports the argument. 

Delhi are yet to defeat Gujarat in the IPL and to be honest, David Warner and Co. will have to play out of their skin if they want to end on the right side of the result. 

Things to watch out for 

Axar needs to bat more

What DC did against Hyderabad was bizarre. Chasing a target of 198, Philip Salt and Mitchell Marsh put on a fiery second-wicket partnership of 112 and set a solid foundation for the middle-order. With Akeal Hosein, Mayank Markande and Abhishek Sharma bowling in tandem, sending Axar Patel would have made sense. Still, the DC management kept feeding right-hander after right-hander and allowed SRH to get away with 11 overs of left-arm and leg-spin.

The left-hander finally came out to bat at No. 7 and even smashed 29* off 14 but the game was pretty much over by then. It’s baffling why Delhi haven’t used more of Axar’s batting. Axar is averaging close to 40 at a strike rate of 147 since last season. Even this year, he is DC’s second-highest run-getter (211 @ 35.2) after Warner. In five out of eight innings this season, Axar has scored more than 20 runs.

Him not being promoted would have made sense if DC had a left-hander in the middle-order, but they didn't. He averages 40.5 in the middle-phase, which tells you he can pace his innings well. And, we all know how dangerous he can be in the last five overs, as his strike rate of 171 suggests. In Warner, Salt and Marsh, DC have a dangerous top-order but they will have to be more proactive when it comes to utilising their Indian batters. 

Titans doing well without Pandya, Rashid

Pandya and Rashid Khan haven’t been at their best this season but that hasn’t hampered Gujarat’s momentum. Not saying they have been terrible but the two star players haven’t quite lived up to their names. Pandya, however, seems to be getting back amongst runs. 

The ace all-rounder started with three single-digit scores but has managed 133 runs in the last four innings, at an average of 33.3 and an SR of 129. His strike-rate against pace has taken a dip this season. Amongst batters who have faced at least 50 deliveries against pace, Pandya (102) has the second-worst SR this season. 

Then there is Rashid. The leg-spinner has claimed 14 wickets but also leaked runs at an economy of 8.8. If you look at his last four games, Rashid has managed only five wickets and conceded at 10 runs per over. Against KKR, he was hammered for 54 runs in his four overs. Before this year, not once Rashid had an economy of more than 6.7 in an IPL season. 

But again, Pandya and Rashid are world-class players and it won’t be too long before they start dictating terms. The likes of Shubman Gill, Vijay Shankar, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar, Rahul Tewatia, Noor Ahmad and Joshua Little are already delivering for the Titans and it will make them even more dangerous once Pandya and Rashid return back to their absolute best.

Ground details

The batters have had fun at the Narendra Modi Stadium this season. They have operated here at an average of 28.6 and a scoring rate of 9.4, while a wicket has fallen every 18.3 deliveries. In IPL 2023, the 175-run total has been breached in seven out of eight innings. 

The spinners here have way better numbers than fast bowlers. They have gone at an economy of 8.9, an average of 23.3 and picked up a wicket every 15.7 deliveries, while the corresponding numbers for seamers are 9.4, 35.6 and 22.7 respectively. Moreover, the team batting second has won three of these four games.

Tactical nous

- Delhi’s spinners have the best economy (7) this season but haven’t picked up enough wickets. They have the second-worst strike rate (24.4) and would now be up against one of the good sides against spin bowling (average 40.4, scoring rate 8.6). Axar, in particular, will have his task cut out against Gill and David Miller. 

Gill has got 72 runs against Axar at a strike rate of 141 without getting dismissed, while Miller has an average of 54 and a strike rate of 169 against the left-arm spinner. If that’s not enough, both these batters also have a good record against Kuldeep Yadav and haven’t been dismissed even once.

- Mohammed Shami has picked up the most powerplay wickets (8 at a strike rate of 16.5 and economy rate of 6.6) this season, but doesn’t have a great record against David Warner. The left-hander has the second-most runs against Shami in T20s - 107 @ 53.5 and a strike rate of 141 - and would be crucial to DC’s chances with the bat.

Probable XIs

(IS - Impact Sub)

Gujarat Titans - Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shubman Gill, Hardik Pandya (c), Vijay Shankar, David Miller, Abhinav Manohar (IS), Rahul Tewatia, Rashid Khan, Noor Ahmad, Mohammed Shami, Mohit Sharma (IS), Joshua Little.

Delhi Capitals - David Warner (c), Philip Salt (wk), Mitchell Marsh, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg (IS), Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Ripal Patel, Kuldeep Yadav, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Mukesh Kumar (IS).

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