Big picture – Tough challenge for Delhi Capitals
Is Tuesday night’s game a contest between the season’s best and worst teams? It’s not just the points table suggesting that.
In key metrics, Gujarat Titans reign supreme while Delhi Capitals bring up the bottom. Their chasing records (100% v 20%), middle-order batting averages (37.8 v 16.6) and scoring rate in the last four overs (12.3 v 7.9) suggest the same. David Warner’s side have also lost the most wickets to spin, have the lowest run-rate against pacers, and are the only side with no batter having a 140+ strike-rate.
But Capitals have produced better performances over the last fortnight, with only a close defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad robbing them of a hat-trick of wins. Their batting has started to click regularly and their spinners have been a rare positive.
Titans look sturdy as an XI, with a robust middle-order supporting Shubman Gill. In Kolkata, they showed that Rashid Khan is not their lone bowling trump card, and like last season their Indian batters like Abhinav Manohar and Vijay Shankar are consistently delivering.
Their only weaknesses at the moment are Wriddhiman Saha’s form and their 1 in 3 record batting first. It will be up to Capitals, who themselves are in a good space for a change, to take advantage of any opening they find. Their best chance will be for more players rallying around Axar Patel and Mitchell Marsh, and a better batting track than Delhi which shall suit their overseas-heavy top order.
Gujarat Titans WWWLW (last five games, most recent first)
Delhi Capitals LWWLL
Team news – Mohit injury not serious
Mohit Sharma had jammed his fingers under the ball during the Kolkata Knight Riders game. While it looked serious at first, his return later in the game to take a catch was promising news for the Titans. There are no other injury concerns from either side.
Impact Player strategy
Saha’s form is worrying for Titans. At 18.9, his average is the worst among all IPL 2023 batters. If Titans chase, they could replace Saha after the fielding innings for a top-order batter like B Sai Sudharsan when batting second. If they bat first, they may be forced to stay with Saha since they’re constrained with replacing a pure batter for an extra bowler in the second innings. It is more likely that they’ll stick with the same combo.
Titans XII: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Wriddhiman Saha (wk) / Sai Sudharsan, 3 Abhinav Manohar, 4 Hardik Pandya (capt), 5 Vijay Shankar, 6 David Miller, 7 Rahul Tewatia, 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Josh Little, 10 Mohit Sharma, 11 Mohammed Shami, 12 Noor Ahmed.
Capitals could make a few changes depending on their assessment of the pitch. They could roll the dice with Prithvi Shaw but would not want to drop Phil Salt from the opener’s spot. He and/or Abishek Porel, could also come in place of Priyam Garg or Ripal Patel.
Capitals XII: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Phil Salt (wk), 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Sarfaraz Khan / Prithvi Shaw, 6 Priyam Garg, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Ripal Patel, 9 Anrich Nortje, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Ishant Sharma, 12 Mukesh Kumar
Stats that matter – Watch out for Warner v Titans pacers
- Capitals’ left-arm spinners have kept Hardik unusually quiet. He’s scored 14 in 16 against Kuldeep and 18 in 17 against Axar.
- Warner’s 107 runs against Shami are among the bowler’s worst numbers against a batter. But Shami has dismissed him twice in 10 games. Warner, in particular, enjoys facing Mohit, hitting him for 100 runs in 55 balls. That one-on-one strike-rate of 182 is among the worst for Mohit against any batter.
- At Ahmedabad, the average first innings score has been 192 but the average first-innings winning score is 207.
Pitch and conditions
Expect a batting-friendly track. The ground dimensions could be a factor based on which pitch is used. It should be a dry evening.
The big question
What has been DC’s biggest struggle?
Poor numbers of Indian pacers
Low impact of Indian middle order
Sreshth Shah is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @sreshthx
(With Inputs from ESPN)
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