Delhi Capitals relinquished the top spot to Mumbai Indians after their loss in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, but one loss does not undo all the good work they have done so far. They remain level on points with MI. The enforced change in the line-up due to Rishabh Pant’s injury played a part in the loss. This meant Alex Carey, the only other keeper in the squad, had to be included. Shimron Hetmyer went out and Ajinkya Rahane came in and took Shreyas Iyer’s no.3 slot.
This led to DC losing some fire power up top. Iyer has been playing well at one-down and his ability to hit boundaries from the word go has helped DC post some big totals so far. If the team from the capital are to stick with Rahane at no.3 the onus will fall on one of the openers to keep going. He is not known for his big hitting and if the boundaries dry up from the other end as well, they can lose their grip of the middle overs. Rahane’s inclusion does make the team less explosive but the DC camp will do well to find a place for someone of his calibre.
Despite the defeat there were some positives to take home. Shikhar Dhawan’s knock of 69 did not set the ground ablaze but it was good to see him back in form. A fit and firing Dhawan will make the team even stronger. Iyer played a decent knock. No.4 is not an unfamiliar position for him, having played for India there. Rahane and Carey got their first games of this year’s IPL. As the season progresses there will changes due to fatigue or injury and the quality of the bench will come into play. It will be beneficial if 14 or 15 players have had time in the middle.
Capitals remain in a strong position so they will not be bothered too much by this loss. Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje’s excellent death bowling ensured MI were made to work hard for the runs. The last two games have thrown-up different challenges for DC and they have coped admirably so far. In the previous game their top-order failed to fire but Hetmyer helped them post a competitive total and the bowlers stepped up while defending a sub-par score. It was a change in the winning team in this game. The result may not have gone their way this time around but this game showed they can compete with the best even when they are not firing on all cylinders.
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