IPL 2022: Can Super Kings withstand Capitals attack?

With Khaleel, Mustafizur and Shardul in the ranks, the Delhi Capitals pace attack has variety and experience, writes Ayaz Memon

By Ayaz Memon

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Khaleel Ahmed of Delhi Capitals celebrates the wicket of Abhishek Sharma of Sunrisers Hyderabad. (BCCI)
Khaleel Ahmed of Delhi Capitals celebrates the wicket of Abhishek Sharma of Sunrisers Hyderabad. (BCCI)

Published: Sun 8 May 2022, 12:55 AM

Chennai Super Kings squandered the opportunity to be in the hunt — even if remotely — for a place in the playoffs when they failed to capitalise on a fine opening stand by Ruturaj Gaikwad and Devon Conway and lost their previous match against Royal Challengers Bangalore by 13 runs.

The target was 174, modest by the pattern this season, but after Gaikwad and Conway had put on 54 in blazing fashion, CSK lost their way.

Ravindra Jadeja was a big disappointment once again. The stage was set for him to play a match-winning cameo, but the all-rounder flopped yet again much to the disappointment of his team, and CSK’s legions of supporters.

It’s not been a gratifying season at all for the defending champions. From flawed selection in the mega auction to a failed captaincy experiment and the poor form of key players, very little has gone right for them.

The bright spots have been few and far between. Apart from a few bright knocks from Gaikwad, Robin Uthappa, Ambati Rayudu and Shivam Dube, one vintage match-winning effort by MS Dhoni, a few splendid spells by Dwayne Bravo and Maheesh Theekshana, CSK fans hardly have anything else to brag about this season.

And with the prospects of reaching the last four in this tournament almost zero what CSK, like Mumbai Indians, will want to do is salvage pride in their remaining matches.

This is the danger for Delhi Capitals tonight as CSK could well end up tripping them. Mumbai did this to two front-running teams, Rajasthan Royals and Gujarat Titans, stalling their progress even if briefly. DC, with fewer points than RR and GT, have to ensure CSK don’t play spoilers against them.

On the face of it, this shouldn’t be a big problem for the Capitals. Their batting and bowling were in prime form against SRH in the previous match, with David Warner and Khaleel Ahmed delivering exceptional performances.

With Khaleel, Mustafizur Rahman and Shardul Thakur in the ranks, the pace attack has variety and experience. What makes the attack formidable is the presence of spinners Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav, the latter enjoying his best season in years.

CSK’s batting, which has been way below par this season, will be put to a severe test.

The all-round strength of DC makes them the favourites. But in T20, this means nothing unless it translates into performance in the middle.

As seen so often this season too, even the slightest laxity or lack of attention can cost a team dear.

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