Delhi Capitals reached the playoffs in Indian Premier League last year, but can they do it once again?

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Season preview

After a promising performance in the last season, Shreyas Iyer-led Delhi Capitals ooze confidence ahead of a new Indian Premier League edition. After struggling through seven successive seasons, Delhi finally managed to break the shackles and record their first entry to the play-offs since 2012.

Led by their young brigade, Delhi for once seemed to have a plan up their sleeves. They were ruthless in the group stages when they found match-winners in all situations and made it to the play-offs. They eventually made some good additions, if not a few too many, in the auction and arrive with a strong squad for the 2020 edition. 

Consistency will be Delhi's key issue and aside from Shreyas Iyer, the rest of the squad hasn't really had the best of times across leagues and international cricket. 

Last 3 seasons - WIN/LOSS record

2017 - 6 wins, 8 losses

2018 - 5 wins, 9 losses

2019 - 10 wins, 6 losses

The time gap between two of their latest play-offs show why Delhi are probably the worst franchise in the history of the league. That said, the change in 2019 seemed to be one for the future given that it comes with a rather young squad base. Can they live up to that reputation this season?

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Squad

Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shikhar Dhawan, Jason Roy, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Sandeep Lamichhane, Kagiso Rabada, Keemo Paul, Mohit Sharma, Lalit Yadav, Axar Patel, Harshal Patel, R Ashwin, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Rishabh Pant, Alex Carey, Shimron Hetmyer, Tushar Deshpande

Top run-scorers (last 3 seasons)

  • Rishabh Pant - 1538 runs 
  • Shreyas Iyer - 1212 runs
  • Prithvi Shaw - 598 runs

Top wicket-takers (last 3 seasons)

  • Amit Mishra - 33 wickets
  • Kagiso Rabada - 31 wickets
  • Chris Morris (no longer in the team)- 26 wickets
  • Trent Boult (no longer in the team)- 23 wickets
  • Pat Cummins (no longer in the team)- 15 wickets
  • Sandeep Lamichhane - 13 wickets

Strengths

Batting is Delhi's strong point this time around too. Aside from the formidable young batting trio of Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant - who are their top three run getters in the last three seasons combined - Delhi have added the likes of Marcus Stoinis, Jason Roy and Shimron Hetmyer to further their firepower. It remains to be seen how many of them fit into their scheme of things but Delhi sure have options. 

Playing around with their spin options is another feasible move for Delhi. With Amit Mishra, Axar Patel and Sandeep Lamichhane already present, they chose to add Ravichandran Ashwin to stock up on spin, an area they need enough arsenal considering the slow, low Kotla wicket.  

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Weaknesses

Delhi's strength is their weakness too. While they have a plethora of batting options available, using them right will be a huge challenge. Add in experienced players like Shikhar Dhawan and Ajinkya Rahane and you have a potpourri that is difficult to ooze the right fragrance unless perfectly scented. That in itself is Delhi's biggest challenge this season. Fitting in some of those overseas batters and getting the best out of their Indian batsmen - both young and experienced - will decide Delhi's season. To compound their woes, the likes of Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant aren't in the best of form.

Season prediction

Delhi have a strong squad base, some excellent individual cricketers and recent form behind them. However, such is the overdose of players available to them that they might mess up in finding the right player balance. All said and done, they look good enough for another playoff berth this time around.  

Feature image courtesy: AFP / Noah Seelam