Delhi received a body blow ahead of the start of the campaign as regular skipper Shreyas Iyer was ruled out of the competition with a shoulder injury. Shreyas is set to undergo surgery on April 8 and has been replaced by wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant as captain. Pant struggled for consistency in IPL 2020, scoring 343 runs in 14 matches with just one half-century.
The 23-year-old also missed a few games due to injury. However, Pant is in the form of his life, having impressed in recent international assignments.
While Shreyas’s absence leaves a hole in the DC middle-order, the franchise would be delighted with Pant’s fantastic run of form. Pant will be accompanied by a strong group, which has a blend of experience and youth.
At the top of the order, Prithvi Shaw will open alongside Shikhar Dhawan. Shaw has been in a rich vein of form, scoring a bulk of runs in domestic competitions, while Dhawan has been short of T20 action. Ajinkya Rahane could be a back-up option if one of them fails to get going.
The middle-order comprises Pant, new recruit Steve Smith, Marcus Stoinis and Shimron Hetmyer among others. Englishman Sam Billings provides cover and could be called upon in case its overseas batters don’t make an instant impact.
Delhi boasts of one of the strongest bowling attacks in IPL 2020. The fast-bowling department will be led by South Africa pacer Kagiso Rabada, who will have the company of his compatriot Anrich Nortje. India internationals Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav as well as Chris Woakes make it a well-rounded unit.
However, it is to be remembered that Rabada and Nortje would be unavailable for DC’s opening game against Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in Mumbai on April 10. The spin attack is as potent as the fast bowling one, with Delhi owning the likes of Ravichandran Ashwin, Axar Patel and Amit Mishra.
Left-arm slow bowler Axar is down with COVID-19 and it remains to be seen if he will be available for the initial matches. Although Delhi will be led by an inexperienced skipper, the franchise has a host of match-winners to take it all the way.