Battered by injuries, Delhi Capitals aim to disrupt Titans’ momentum and conquer Ahmedabad fortress

Gill’s GT will host Pant’s DC at the iconic Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. (Source: X)

Rishabh Pant has enjoyed success with the bat since returning to competitive cricket, but as a captain, he has struggled to find the right formula. As a result, the Delhi Capitals find themselves in ninth place with just two wins in six games in IPL 2024. Besides Pant’s batting form and Kuldeep Yadav’s bowling, there isn’t much to celebrate for the Capitals.

Injuries, especially the recent one to David Warner, have compounded their challenges, and they face a formidable opponent with a strong home record in their next match against Gujarat Titans. Additionally, the Titans will be boosted by the return of David Miller. Despite numerous disparities between the two teams, a shared concern unites them — urgent requirement for a turnaround in IPL 2024.

Unlike the previous two seasons, Gujarat Titans have struggled to find rhythm this year, plagued by injuries and a lack of depth in their squad. Both, the bowlers and batters have faced challenges. The bowlers have conceded too many runs and batters failed to deliver consistently.

One of the main concerns has been the instability in the top and middle order, exacerbated by injuries to key players like David Miller, Wriddhiman Saha, and Azmatullah Omarzai. Although replacements Kane Williamson, Matthew Wade, and Abhinav Manohar got opportunities, they have not capitalised on it.

While wily leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been economical, he hasn’t been able to take many wickets. His recent cameo with the bat in the last game was crucial for Titans. They will hope for more impactful performances from Rashid with both bat and ball.

The Titans will be buoyed by the return of David Miller, who is fit and available for selection. The DC bowlers should exercise caution against him, especially considering his impressive strike rates against specific bowlers in T20 matches. Against Ishant Sharma, Miller boasts a strike rate of 288, while he has struck at 171 and 168 against Khaleel Ahmed and Axar Patel, respectively. Notably, Mukesh Kumar has conceded 24 runs off just eight balls.

The Delhi Capitals have encountered challenges in fielding their ideal XI due to a mix of form and fitness woes.

Despite securing a crucial victory against the Lucknow Super Giants after four losses in five games, Delhi still face significant hurdles in their quest for a playoff berth.

The return of Kuldeep Yadav, who made a notable impact by dismantling the opposition with three key wickets in Lucknow, has been instrumental. Kuldeep, who has increased his pace through the air, appears to be in peak form. He poses a formidable challenge for the Titans’ batters, particularly against his deceptive googlies.

In Jack Fraser-McGurk, the Capitals seem to have discovered a promising No.3 3 batter like Pant said after the last game. They will hope he can build on the success of his debut IPL performance.

However, Mukesh Kumar has struggled, conceding 10 runs per over across five games, including an expensive comeback game against LSG. Despite this, the team can take solace in the consistent batting form of skipper Pant, who continues to improve with each match. Pant’s stellar performances position him favourably for selection in India’s T20 World Cup squad, despite strong competition from players like Sanju Samson and Ishan Kishan.

It will not be just a battle of two teams but two young captains. Both have scored runs for their teams, but neither has been able to win matches on a consistent basis. It’s a face-off between Gill and Pant, two contrasting characters vis a vis their batting styles. Gill embodies a classical approach, whereas Pant is known for his innovative flair. While Gill may draw confidence from his past successful performances in Ahmedabad, Pant is unlikely to be an easy opponent to overcome.