All eyes would be on Rishabh Pant when Delhi Capitals take on Mumbai Indians in an IPL 2019 encounter at their home ground in Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi on Thursday. Pant would be on playing first IPL match after not being picked in India’s World Cup squad. Pant has been mum on Dinesh Karthik being favoured over him.
There are high chances that Pant would come out as the leader of Delhi in the absence of Shreyas Iyer, who was hit on his right-arm during the training session on the eve of the crucial encounter. With a good chance of making it to the play-offs, the Capitals would not want to risk their captain if he is not a 100 percent.
With 10 points from eight games, both teams are on course to make the play-offs. While that counts as familiar territory for three-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians, Capitals are in the middle of a remarkable resurgence, having not finished in the top-four since 2012. The celebrated duo of head coach Ricky Ponting and mentor Sourav Ganguly has managed to instill belief in the team members and that is visible on the field. The team now seems to believe that it can win the title after a long spell as the perennial underachiever of the competition.
“The support of the coaches Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly… Their experience as a captain along with the belief they instill in us is great. At the same time the young boys in our team are also getting mature,” said senior player Shikhar Dhawan ahead of the game against Mumbai Indians.
“It has been a good season for us. It’s a clean slate for the Delhi franchise, new name, new adminstration, support staff everyone was new. Our team is strong and is a balanced side with the overseas and Indian players,” he added.
The South African pace combine of Kagiso Rabada and Chris Morris have delivered for the team. Even in the previous game against Sunrisers Hyderabad, the two pacers shared seven wickets to fashion an unlikely win for Capitals who successfully defended 155 by bowling out the hosts for 116.
Their batting order looks pretty much settled and there are high chances that Delhi Capitals will retain the same combination even against MI. Iyer’s absence might actually open the doors for Hanuma Vihari.
Delhi Capitals Predicted XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant (WK), Colin Munro, Hanuma Vihari, Keemo Paul, Chris Morris, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Chris Morris