IPL 2022: Delhi Capitals try to best Lucknow Super Giants to climb points table
- Delhi Capitals' rollercoaster lose-one-win-one trip has lasted six games
- Lucknow Super Giants will be aiming for a hat-trick of victories
- Despite four losses in eight games, the Capitals have the best net run rate
Six games out of 14 may seem like a lot, but not when you're sixth in a mid-table pack, with five teams above you vying for a top-four finish and two below you breathing down your neck. The Delhi Capitals' rollercoaster lose-one-win-one trip has lasted six games, and they would be searching for steadiness at this point.
They can be cheered by Kuldeep Yadav's resurgence, Mitchell Marsh's brief spark on return from quarantine, and their effective pace battery, lead by Mustafizur Rahman and Khaleel Ahmed, despite being hit by COVID-19 and then a pointless no-ball-that-never-happened issue.
Although Khaleel missed the Capitals' last game owing to a hamstring injury, another left-armer in their ranks, Chetan Sakariya, answered the call with three economical overs, including the wicket of Aaron Finch off his third ball.
But what about the Capitals' batting? Aside from openers David Warner and Prithvi Shaw, their lineup hasn't provided much hope. Rishabh Pant has occasionally sparked but has yet to light up the show; Lalit Yadav's form has waned after a promising start; Rovman Powell has only scored respectably in the last two matches, and Sarfaraz Khan has been in and out of the squad.
Despite four losses in eight games, the Capitals have the best net run rate of any club. But that won't matter if they can't score crucial points. To summarise, only four postseason positions are available, and eight clubs - nine if you are a Chennai Super Kings supporter - are still in the hunt, a reality that the Capitals cannot ignore.
Against this backdrop, they will play the Lucknow Super Giants, who will be aiming for a hat-trick of victories. With two fast bowlers in Jason Holder and Marcus Stoinis, one left-arm spin bowler in Krunal Pandya, and one offspin bowler in Deepak Hooda, the Super Giants appear to have one foot inside the door of the playoffs already.
They, like the Capitals, have had standout players with the ball, the most recent of which is left-arm quick Mohsin Khan. Ravi Bishnoi hasn't been steady - despite seven wickets, he averages 41 and has an economy rate of 8.22 - but that hasn't bothered his teammates. Dushmantha Chameera has raced through at breakneck speed, Holder and Avesh Khan have been among the wickets despite their high prices, and Pandya has finally found his bowling rhythm.
However, while possessing a multitude of allrounders has given them depth and various alternatives, their middle order, like the Capitals', hasn't been at its best. Only captain KL Rahul and his opening partner Quinton de Kock have consistently scored runs for the Super Giants.
Their bowlers have successfully defended totals three times in their last five matches, two of which were only 153 and 169, whereas they have lost batting second twice in a row. With little time remaining, the Super Giants, like the Capitals, will be looking for better consistency.
Khaleel was forced to miss the Capitals' previous game against the Kolkata Knight Riders, and there has been no official news on his availability since. If Khaleel is able to return, Sakariya's impressive start for the Capitals may create some consternation.
Delhi Capitals: Prithvi Shaw, David Warner, Rishabh Pant (capt, wk), Mitchell Marsh, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Rovman Powell, Shardul Thakur, Kuldeep Yadav, Mustafizur Rahman, Khaleel Ahmed/Chetan Sakariya
Lucknow Super Giants: KL Rahul (capt), Quinton de Kock (wk), Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya, Deepak Hooda, Ayush Badoni/Manish Pandey, Jason Holder, Dushmantha Chameera, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohsin Khan, Avesh Khan