After hours of deliberation and uncertainties, the BCCI finally decided to shift the Delhi Capitals-Punjab Kings game on Wednesday from MCA Stadium in Pune to Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai. Both teams, despite playing some incredible cricket, haven’t really been able to transform that into positive results, hence the game on Wednesday holds a special significance for them to bring their campaign back on track.
Previewing the clash for Cricket.com, Graeme Smith feels that with Delhi Capitals down with a Covid outbreak, Punjab have a golden opportunity to cash in on the lack of practice from the former to make their impact clear.
“The world of cricket has kind of sort of exposed to Covid-19 right now and a lot of nations have somehow moved away from the bio-secure bubbles. And it might be time to start addressing that in the IPL. It is such a valuable tournament, hence you could understand wanted to protect this as much as possible. Let’s hope everyone tests negative before the game and we can have another exciting contest,” Smith told Cricket.com.
“Punjab haven’t been able to stitch two wins together but they will not have a better chance than this with Delhi Capitals just getting out of quarantine and losing an important member like Mitchell Marsh. There is also a lot of talent in that Punjab team. It is just about creating that consistency and wins will automatically come.”
Odean Smith as a bowling all-rounder hasn’t provided Punjab anything of substance. The Caribbean all-rounder has an economy of 11.9 runs per over for only six wickets in six matches whereas his batting average languishes at 17 for a strike rate of 115.9. Smith feels that Punjab can possibly try to slot in Bhanuka Rajapaksa in the batting order to have maximum impact.
“Odean Smith hasn’t been able to set the tournament on fire. You are getting into the stage of the competition where you don’t want to be chopping and changing your combination but with the inconsistency that Punjab have shown and not all the players have put their hands up, they got to look at the options that can strengthen the team. And I like the option of Rajapaksa. If he can add that value of a left-hander, Punjab will be a lot balanced.”
Speaking about Delhi Capitals, Smith stated that multiple factors played a crucial role in the side finding itself in a dire situation but added that the side missed players like Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje who added a different zing to the line-up in the last couple of years.
“One of the biggest things that haunted Delhi was definitely the fact that it took them a long time to get their international players in the squad. They had just got Marsh fit but now he is dealing with Covid. But the biggest miss for them is the firepower they had with the ball. Both Rabada and Nortje were outstanding in the last few years and that’s where I feel they made a mistake.
“Anrich was terrible in the first game he played but a player like him needs a long run. If I were Pant or Ricky Ponting in that dressing room, I would have given Nortje or Ngidi enough time to get the match fitness early on in the season to play an important role later. Kuldeep has been excellent but not enough firepower around him. It has cost them big-time,” the former South African skipper concluded.