For the second game in a row, Delhi Capitals will be up against a team they’ve not beaten so far in IPL 2020. It instils a spirit of fairness that Delhi get to meet Mumbai Indians in the final only if they managed to overcome all the others at least once. That’ll be easier said than done, for SRH have consistently managed to get the better of Delhi by good planning and even better execution.
Early swing from Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma has made sure that Delhi’s opening partnerships remain unthreatening, while Rashid Khan (6 wickets in 2 outings) has proven to be a thorn in the flesh. But it’s with the bat, that SRH have found a way to make a difference against Delhi. David Warner has led a single-handed charge first-up against the likes of Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje. Scores of 45 and 66 from Warner have also given SRH opening stands worth 77 and 107 against Delhi which have been instrumental in their successes against them.
The importance of setting the tone early against a team like Delhi, in particular, has its advantages for it’s a team that thrives and rides on this early momentum. Rabada was usually the anointed man in the early stages by Ricky Ponting to get this right. And when Rabada succeeded in setting the tone, victory followed Delhi invariably. On the other hand, they’ve not yet shown a tendency to pull things back if there’s a bleak phase at the start, as the pattern across their losses indicate.
Rabada has not been at his best, going wicketless in three of the last four outings in addition to conceding crucial boundaries which have led to an unflattering economy rate in this phase. With that, the cover has also blown over Delhi’s weakest link in bowling, the third pacer. Besides Nortje and Rabada, there have been 6 pacers tried out who have combined to give only 7 wickets at an economy rate of 10.05.
Delhi did have a brief reversal from such an onslaught against Mumbai Indians in the first qualifier before that advantage was squandered in the final six overs. They’d be hoping that this was more than just a false dawn. One of the important battles that could prove decisive is the one against Warner, given his excellent record against DC. Can Rabada bring out his best in this key encounter? Or will DC look towards R Ashwin to take advantage of the left-hander match-up? Will Delhi finally prove their bouncebackability in case things go south early?