Delhi players in a huddle ahead of the match against Punjab. Pic: IPLT20.COM
Former Indian batter Aakash Chopra has praised the Delhi Capitals (DC) for putting behind their COVID-19 troubles and delivering an emphatic performance against the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in their previous IPL 2022 clash on Wednesday (20 April).
There were concerns over the DC-PBKS clash after a sixth member of the Delhi contingent tested COVID-19 positive on the day of the match. Five others, including all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, had returned positive tests earlier.
With all the other players testing negative, the match went ahead and Delhi put up a commanding performance to thump Punjab by nine wickets. While hailing DC for their brilliant show, Chopra admitted on his YouTube channel:
“There were clouds hovering around Delhi. There were fears that they might disintegrate and might not be in the right mindset to play the match.” He, however, added, “Forget the mindset; they absolutely battered PBKS, bundling them out for 115. Who does that?”
Chopra also applauded Rishabh Pant’s captaincy in the match, pointing to tactics that had a telling impact on the outcome. The 44-year-old said:
“Captaincy was really good. Lalit Yadav was brought on early and he sent back Shikhar Dhawan. Mustafizur Rahman picked up Mayank Agarwal while Axar Patel dismissed Liam Livingstone. Kuldeep Yadav also claimed two wickets in one over towards the end. Khaleel Ahmed has been claiming two wickets in every match. He has been very economical, incisive, and is picking up a lot of wickets.”
Bowling first after winning the toss, Delhi bundled out Punjab for 115. Dhawan, Agarwal and Livingstone were back in the dugout in the powerplay and PBKS could never recover. Khaleel Ahmed, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav all claimed two wickets each for Delhi.
“DC seem over-reliant on their openers” – Aakash Chopra
While praising Delhi’s bowling, Chopra claimed that their batting doesn’t look as strong as they seem to be depending too much on the opening pair of Prithvi Shaw and David Warner. In Delhi’s last three IPL 2022 matches, Shaw and Warner have been involved in the opening stands of 93, 50 and 83.
The cricketer-turned-analyst stated:
“In the batting department, DC seem over-reliant on their openers Prithvi Shaw and David Warner at the moment. Warner has three consecutive 60-plus scores. Shaw is batting well and will again be expected to perform. But it won’t be as easy against RR because there will be some mouth-watering head-to-head battles.
Chopra also shared his views on Delhi’s middle order, stating:
“After the openers, Delhi have Sarfaraz Khan, Rishabh Pant and Lalit Yadav. Rovman Powell is not scoring a lot of runs. It’s 50-50. Batting is a bit of a problem, but bowling is quite good.”
DC are currently sixth in the standings with six points from as many matches. They will next face the Rajasthan Royals (RR) at the Wankhede Stadium today, 22 April.