IPL 2021

Rishabh Pant-led Delhi Capitals (DC) have been among the most impressive sides in IPL 2021 so far. They have won three out of four matches in the tournament so far, and rather comprehensively at that. They started IPL 2021 with a confident seven-wicket triumph over Chennai Super Kings (CSK). After going down to Rajasthan Royals (RR) in a tense finish, they then defeated Punjab Kings (PBKS) and defending champions Mumbai Indians (MI) in emphatic fashion. With six points in three games, they are in the top half of the points table, below CSK and RCB only on the basis of the net run rate. Here are five reasons why DC are a strong contender to win IPL 2021.

  1. The Shikhar Dhawan factor

Veteran left-hander Shikhar Dhawan has been in excellent form in IPL 2021 so far. After four matches, he already has 231 runs to his name at an average of 57.75 and a brilliant strike rate of 148.07. He has hit two match-winning fifties, with a best of 92. Even in the most recent victory over MI, he contributed a crucial 45 in a tense chase. More than the number of runs, Dhawan has stood out with the confidence and dominance that he has demonstrated. If he can continue his glorious form, the southpaw can end up with the Orange Cap and, perhaps, lead DC to title glory as well.

  • DC’s strong opening combination

While Dhawan has been exceptional on his own, the Dhawan-Prithvi Shaw opening combo has also been destructive as far as DC is concerned. The duo began with a dominating 138-run stand against CSK, in which Shaw contributed a blazing 72 from 38 and Dhawan struck 85 from 54. Against Punjab, they again got the team off to a rollicking start with an opening stand of 59 in 5.3 overs in a chase of 196. Though Shaw has not been as consistent, as an opening pair, Dhawan-Shaw are highly aggressive and can thwart opponents to chase down big totals.

  • Greater confidence in the team

DC had gone down to MI in all four meetings between the sides last season, including Qualifier 1 and the final. As such, Rohit Sharma’s men would have had the psychological edge when the teams met recently. DC had a point to prove that they were not bogged down by history and they did so in rather assertive fashion. Their bowling attack held back a strong MI batting line-up while the batting was good enough to ensure there was no hiccup. It was a measured and mature performance.

  • Rishabh Pant – the match-winner

DC skipper Rishabh Pant has not come to the party yet. Apart from the half-century in the losing cause against Rajasthan Royals, he hasn’t done much of note with the bat. But, it is no secret that Pant has turned into a crucial match-winner with the bat in recent times. DC would hope it is only a matter of a few games before he finds his form. If DC have to win IPL 2021, Pant will have to play a key role. He is among the most dangerous big-hitters in world cricket today. And if he starts performing with the bat, this DC unit will become even tougher to beat.

  • Versatile bowling line-up

Last year, DC reached the final on the basis of their bowling strength. This season as well, they have displayed good versatility in the department. While Kagiso Rabada is yet to fire, DC will be confident of him hitting his stripes soon. Young pacer Avesh Khan has been highly impressive while Amit Mishra proved against MI that he still has it in him to be a match-winner. Ravichandran Ashwin is yet to make a proper impact. And DC’s haven’t even utilized the services of last year’s bowling star Anrich Nortje.

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