IPL 2022: Pressure is squarely on Delhi Capitals

Rishabh Pant's men go up against Shreyas Iyer's Kolkata Knight Riders in Mumbai

Pat Cummins of Kolkata Knight Riders. — BCCI
Pat Cummins of Kolkata Knight Riders. — BCCI

By Ayaz Memon

Published: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 11:49 PM

Last updated: Sat 9 Apr 2022, 11:53 PM

Pat Cummins’s 15-ball 56-run blitzkrieg against Mumbai Indians was the most brutal exhibition of power hitting seen this season. It not only ensured victory for his team, and sent Kolkata Knight Riders to the top of the points table, but has also made them possibly the most dangerous team in the tournament.

The Australian captain is touted, with justification, as the world’s best all-format cricketer currently. This has been largely based on his magnificent bowling, not so much on his batting, which has been gritty and committed but was never known to have an explosive dimension to it, of the kind evidenced against MI.

It was a tough situation that Cummins had walked into. MI were defending 161. Not a mammoth score, but after Andre Russell was the fifth wicket to fall at 101 in the 14th over, it appeared that the five-time champions would finally get their first points in the tournament. It wasn’t to be as Cummins unleashed a most extraordinary sequence of sixes and fours to quash such ambitions.

Not even Andre Russell could have batted with such intimidating power. The fact that Russell has also been in devastating form this season, and Venkatesh Iyer has got going, the muscle and heft in KKR’s batting stands considerably enhanced.

This is the big worry for Delhi Capitals when they take the field against the former champions in Sunday’s first match. After a splendid win over MI in their opening match, DC have been doddering, not showing the same ebullience and panache of the previous season.

This came to the fore the other night when they lost to Lucknow Super Giants in spite of star overseas recruits David Warner and Anrich Nortje being part of the playing XI. In fact, DC squandered a belligerent half-century from swashbuckling opener Prithvi Shaw, being restricted to 149.

True, it was a slow pitch, but this has hardly ever been a constraint for Pant. Against LSG, though, Pant failed to break the shackles. In fact, he even played out a maiden from K Gowtham, a most unusual occurrence in his T20 career.

DC were found wanting with ball too, unable to stop free-flowing Quinton de Kock from playing a match-winning 80.

In batting and bowling, on current form, DC appear a notch or two behind KKR. Par scores this season have hovered around 170, but this may not be easy to get against a bowling attack in which Umesh Yadav is in sublime form, Cummins is on a roll, and Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy thriving on slow pitches helping spinners. Where KKR are concerned, the only worry they have is lack of big scores from skipper Shreyas Iyer and old hand Nitish Rana. All told, the pressure’s squarely on DC to get their sputtering campaign going again.

Ayaz Memon is an Indian sports writer and commentator

Players To Watch Out For:

KKR: Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Shreyas Iyer

DC: David Warner, Rishabh Pant, Axar Patel

X Factor: Andre Russell

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