Shikhar Dhawan for Delhi Capitals
Former Indian cricketer Sanjay Manjrekar feels the Delhi Capitals (DC) rely far too much on the runs of opener Shikhar Dhawan.
Dhawan is the highest run-scorer for DC this season with 551 in 15 matches. However, most of his runs came during the first half of the tournament in India. Since the resumption of the IPL in the UAE, the Delhi-born opener has managed to score just 171 runs in seven matches at an ordinary average of 24.
Dhawan’s strike rate has also dipped during the second phase of the competition, and he has failed to score at a rate higher than 122.
Sanjay Manjrekar, while previewing Qualifier 2 of the IPL between Delhi Capitals and Kolkata Knight Riders, opined that the DC batting lineup has shown signs of weakness whenever Dhawan has misfired.
“On paper, Delhi Capitals are formidable,” Manjrekar said in a video on Instagram. “Prithvi Shaw has been sensational but if Dhawan gets runs, DC looks a completely different side. Dhawan has been going off the boil. Their batting looks fragile down the order.”
You can watch the video below:
Manjrekar also reckons Delhi haven’t been able to replace all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, who has been sidelined for the last few games due to injury.
“They haven’t found an adequate replacement of Stoinis,” Manjrekar added. “They played Curran because they needed to give some support to Avesh Khan, who has leaked some runs in the last couple of games.”
Sanjay Manjrekar believes DC should play Steve Smith against KKR
In his preview, Manjrekar also suggested bringing in Australian batsman Steve Smith for the game against KKR in Sharjah. Surprisingly, though, Manjrekar opined that DC should drop pacer Kagiso Rabada to accommodate the Australian.
Manjrekar reckons DC should keep Tom Curran in the side to utilize his variations on a sluggish surface at Sharjah. According to the former Indian cricketer, the Capitals should drop Rabada and not Curran based on their current form.
Rabada, who was the purple cap holder in the previous edition of the IPL, has underperformed in the UAE leg this year.
“Don’t rule out chances for Steve Smith back in the side. It may be a brave call to leave Rabada out in place of Smith,” Manjrekar said. “Because Curran’s slower deliveries might help in the slow Sharjah pitch. Delhi Capitals have quick, fast-paced bowlers in Avesh and Nortje. And Rabada’s current form has been impressive. So it may be a brave call but not such a bad tactical call.”
It remains to be seen whether Rishabh Pant will bring in an extra batter in Steve Smith in place of Curran or Rabada.
Qualifier 2 will be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium later on Wednesday. The winner of the fixture will take on Chennai Super Kings in the final of IPL 2021.