By making its maiden appearance in the final, Delhi Capitals met part of its expectations. The skipper, Shreyas Iyer, had promised to give the best and the team backed the leader with a show that almost brought it the title.
Despite setbacks in the bowling department, Delhi recovered to surprise its opponents but the team would always rue trading off Trent Boult to Mumbai Indians. Ironically, the Kiwi made critical dents in the final but Delhi Capitals should be satisfied with the second position having lost to the best team in the tournament.
What went wrong
The abject failures of Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant troubled the team right though the league stage. Pant did come up with a half century in the final but then he was also guilty of throwing his wicket away when the situation demanded him to hang in there with skipper Shreyas Iyer.
True, five overs were remaining when Pant played that ambitious shot after having taken two fours in the same over. Pant’s poor form did not give the middle order the strength it needed and Shaw proving a miserable opener cost the team in the powerplay.
Lack of technique was evident in Shaw’s approach and his inability to come to terms with the wretched form did not help the team at all. He did have two half centuries in his 13 innings but hardly the start that the team desired. Shimron Hetmyer did not click when it mattered. His aggregate of 185 in 11 innings was not in keeping with his reputation. Losing out fast bowler Ishant Sharma and leg-spinner Amit Mishra hurt the bowling indeed.
Marcus Stoinis was the most outstanding performer in his role as an all-rounder. His robust strokeplay came in handy when the team had to set the pace and his range of shots kept the opposition under constant pressure. He could muscle the ball into the stands with an amazing fluency and consistency.
When pushed to open the innings following Shaw’s failure, Stoinis walked into the role with ease to give the team a splendid start in the powerplay barring the final when he fell to a monstrous first-ball dismissal from Trent Boult.
With the ball, too, he came up with breakthroughs and there was a sense of assurance when Stoinis was in the thick of action. Shikhar Dhawan’s excellent form, also with the exception of the final, was a big gain for the team. The South African fast bowling pair of Anrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada served the team well.
Why did the team management persist with Prithvi Shaw when it was clear that he was struggling on all fronts. The faith in him was clearly misplaced after the initial phase when he got two half centuries. The preference to left-arm fast bowler Daniel Sams was perplexing since he was not up to the mark.
The over-reliance on Rabada and Nortje was evident even though off-spinner R. Ashwin gave a decent account of his skills. Medium-pacer Harshal Patel did not raise the confidence of his team-mates even though seamer Tushar Deshpande did promise if continued with.
The hero: Kagiso Rabada
Matches: 17; wickets: 30; best bowling: 4/24; average: 18.26; economy rate: 8.34; strike rate: 13.13; four-wicket hauls: 2