IPL 2023: Five points to ponder for Lucknow and Delhi

The teams lock horns in the evening game in Lucknow

Delhi Capitals skipper David Warner. — Delhi Capitals Twitter
Delhi Capitals skipper David Warner. — Delhi Capitals Twitter

Leslie Wilson Jr

Published: Sat 1 Apr 2023, 12:06 AM

A little magic hung in the air over the Dubai International Cricket Stadium when Delhi Capitals took on defending champion Mumbai Indians in the 2020 final.

There was an air of expectation that this could be the year when the former Daredevils would finally end its drought in the world’s most popular Twenty20 league.

However, it was not to be as it failed to defend a target of 156 and lost by five wickets.

That was the closest Ricky Ponting’s team has come to IPL glory. Now, as it starts afresh in the 16th edition of the tournament, it will be looking to start strong with a win over Lucknow Super Giants.

Here are five questions to consider before the toss.

Home advantage or home pressure?

With the IPL returning to the traditional home-and-away format, Lucknow faces Delhi at its home ground at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium for the first time.

While the home advantage often proves decisive, it could also bring unnecessary added pressure with fans only wanting a victory.

The toss could prove crucial as all the previous international matches played at the venue were won by the team batting first.

Can Warner handle the pressure of captaincy?

Rishabh Pant’s absence from this year’s tournament due to a horrific road accident will impact the team considerably.

David Warner, who is a worthy replacement at the helm, forms a formidable opening partnership with the capable Prithvi Shaw.

A former Australian captain, Warner has been one of the most prolific scorers in the IPL and is a three-time winner of the Orange Cap. The dashing 39-year-old batter does not boast strong National team form but is a changed man in the IPL, where he racked up 432 runs last season.

Will the auction come back to haunt Delhi?

Many argue that Delhi got it all wrong during the last couple of auctions where it lost valuable players like Kagiso Rabada, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Ravichandran Ashwin, and Avesh Khan.

With INR 19.45 crore (Dh 8.7m) to spend on five players, the management released four players in the IPL drafts but splurged INR 4.6 crore (2.06m) on Rilee Rossouw after outbidding Rajasthan Royals.

Although coach Ricky Ponting can boast of stability, Delhi will still need Warner to deliver on all fronts if it hopes to remain competitive.

Can Super Giants build on super debut?

Lucknow surprised many when it made it to the play-offs in its inaugural season. Needless to say, expectations will be high for a squad led by T20 specialist batter K L Rahul, who is one of the favourites to win a second Orange Cap, as the tournament’s top scorer, after 2020 when he was based with Punjab Kings.

Will all-rounders be the difference?

One of Lucknow’s undeniable strengths is that it is a team made up of high-quality all-rounders, which is a big deal in Twenty20 cricket.

Even though it lost Mohsin Khan even before the start of the campaign due to a shoulder injury, it can rely on Marcus Stoinis, Krunal Pandya, and Deepak Hooda, who enjoyed a huge 2022 season where he scored 451 runs and were never dismissed cheaply.

Hooda is also an effective off-spinner who can contain the run-flow in the middle-overs.


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