By Baidurjo Bhose
New Delhi: The wicket at the Ferozeshah Kotla once again came back to haunt Delhi Capitals and stop their three-match winning momentum on Thursday. And Kings XI Punjab will look to feed off that very advantage when they come to the Kotla on Saturday with some quality spinners in a side led by none other than R. Ashwin.
With the likes of Mujeeb ur Rahman and Murugan Ashwin in the side to back skipper Ashwin, KXIP will be relishing the opportunity of playing on a low and slow Kotla wicket. Not to forget the experience of Mohammed Shami in the pace bowling department and the exuberance of Arshdeep Singh.
For Delhi, it will be about replicating their away form on home conditions as the free flowing stroke-makers in Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, skipper Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant have found it very difficult to adapt to the slow nature of the Kotla wicket.
In fact, the team selection has also left a lot to be desired as they played Keemo Paul over Sandeep Lamichhane on a turning wicket. Interestingly, even Mumbai Indians on Wednesday night decided to play three spinners in Rahul Chahar, Jayant Yadav and Krunal Pandya while Delhi went in with just two in Amit Mishra and Axar Patel.
Team combination apart, the Delhi batsmen must find a way to compete on their home turf if DC are to win matches and make it to the play-offs. They cannot keep using the excuse of the ball not coming onto the bat when they clearly understand that this Kotla wicket will remain like this through the tournament and it isn’t a case of one off games.
The bowlers have done a far better job and apart from the death overs on Thursday, it almost looked like the DC bowlers would restrict MI to a score around the 145-150 mark. They have also been very consistent and their first wide came in the 19th over. But the batsmen must stand up and make it count as T20 cricket after all is about scoring runs and then defending them.
Considering the trouble of the DC batsmen to adapt to the wicket at the Kotla, it will again be a case of KXIP starting favourites on Saturday.
Delhi Capitals: Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Kagiso Rabada, Trent Boult, Ishant Sharma, Colin Munro, Sandeep Lamichhane, Avesh Khan, Amit Mishra, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, Jalaj Saxena, Manjot Kalra, Sherfane Rutherford, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, Lokesh Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, Nicholas Pooran, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Ankit Rajpoot, Karun Nair, David Miller, Andrew Tye, Moises Henriques, Varun Chakravarthy, Murugan Ashwin, Simran Singh, Hardus Viljoen, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi, Harpreet Brar
(Baidurjo Bhose can be contacted at [email protected])