IPL 2021 Qualifier 2, DC vs KKR: Delhi Capitals would be tempted to include the experienced Ishant Sharma for the crucial knock-out clash against Kolkata Knight Riders in place of the struggling Avesh Khan.
After losing Qualifier 1 against Chennai Super Kings (CSK), the Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals (DC) will take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in Qualifier 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 on Wednesday. DC was handed a close 4-wicket loss by the three-time champions Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1. DC played brilliantly during the league stage as they finished top in the points table. However, in their last game vs CSK, they saw a collective failure in death bowling, which allowed MS Dhoni to take his team to victory. There needs to be a change in the playing XI and coach Ricky Ponting will evaluate his options for sure. While Avesh Khan has been the top wicket-taker for the franchise, he has been struggling for the past three matches and Ponting could go for the experience of Ishant Sharma in the crunch match. Even R Ashwin has struggled in the UAE leg so far, but the presence of a clutch of left-handers in the KKR line-up could mean he gets to keep his spot.
Here are the players who are likely to feature for DC against KKR in Qualifier 2.
Prithvi Shaw: The 21-year-old opener gave a solid start to his side in Qualifier 1 against CSK with his quickfire 60 runs. He has scored 484 runs this season in 14 matches.
Shikhar Dhawan: The-left hander hasn’t scored big since the season resumed in the UAE but with his top-class batting the first half, he is still the leading run-scorer for Delhi this year. Dhawan along with Shaw form a deadly combination at the top for DC.
Shreyas Iyer: After a remarkable comeback in the UAE leg of the tournament, Iyer hasn’t had the best of outings in the last few games. He is a quality player and would want to make a key contribution for Delhi in the knockout match against Kolkata.
Rishabh Pant: Pant has led DC brilliantly in his maiden captaincy stint in the IPL. He has scored 413 runs this season and also scored a half-century against CSK in Qualifier 1, which guided his team to a fighting total after being reduced to 80/4 at the halfway mark while batting first.
Shimron Hetmyer: The Caribbean middle-order batsman has played some crucial knocks for Delhi in the last few games after his initial struggles. He is likely to retain his spot in another big game.
Tom Curran: The English all-rounder is likely to retain his spot after having a mixed bag of a match in Qualifier 1 against CSK. He took three wickets in the death overs to put pressure on CSK in the last game but failed to defend 13 runs in the final over against MS Dhoni.
Ravichandran Ashwin: The veteran spinner hasn’t had the best of time in UAE, picking just 4 wickets in 7 outings. But DC will retain Ashwin due to his great record against left-handers as KKR have many of them in their line-up.
Axar Patel: The all-rounder might not have done well with the bat this season but his heroics with the ball helped Delhi Capitals to keep the opposition quiet in the middle-overs. Axar has taken 15 wickets in 11 matches he has played this year.
Kagiso Rabada: The purple-cap winner from last season has not hit his standard this season but his death bowling has been game-changing for Capitals. Rabada has played 14 games this season and taken 13 wickets so far.
Anrich Nortje: The right-arm South African pacer has been terrific for Capitals since the season resumed in the UAE. Despite missing the first half, he made an excellent comeback in the second half of the league and has taken 10 wickets in the seven matches so far.
Ishant Sharma: Ishant Sharma might not be the best T20 paceman in the business but he has years of experience of playing crucial matches across formats in international cricket. Ponting could punt on Ishant in place of the young Avesh Khan, who has been struggling off late.