Two teams who are yet to win the title, one yet to even reach the finals and the other with a solitary appearance in the finals, meet each other in the second game of the season. The Northern derby promises to be an exciting affair as both teams comprise of some of the most talented T20 cricketers at present. What makes it more interesting is the interchange of personnel – Maxwell to KXIP and Ashwin to DC and both of them will be playing key roles for their respective sides this season.

Delhi are touted as one of the contenders for playoffs while Punjab are considered as the dark horses. As we near the start of the encounter, we look at some of the key strategies and matchups.

The Need of R Ashwin in Powerplays:

Gayle’s struggles against R Ashwin are no secret, ever since Dhoni used the off-spinner against Gayle in the 2011 IPL final. Ashwin has totally dominated Gayle in the powerplays. Here are the numbers for Gayle against Ashwin in powerplays in IPL.

C Gayle vs R AshwinStrike RateAverageDot%
In Powerplays70.8311.3366.67%

In powerplays, Gayle has scored at a strike rate of 70.83 against Ashwin and has got out thrice scoring a total of 3e4 runs. In the 48 balls he has faced, 32 were dot balls. This shows the dominance Ashiwn has over the Universe Boss in powerplays.

[Also read – IPL 2020: KXIP Batting Analysis]

KXIp Top Order vs Off-Spin since 2018Strike Rate
KL Rahul192.7116.00
Chris Gayle91.2526.67
Mayank Agarwal159.1816.33

KXIP’s top order comprising of Rahul, Gayle and Mayank, has been troubled by off-spinners in recent years. While rahul and Mayank score at a brisk pace, they get out once every 16 balls . Gayle scored at a asub-100 strike rate and gets out once every 26 balls. With Ashwin and the calibre he has the numbers are surely going to get worse for the KXIP batsmen. Ashwin returning to where he succeeded the most, the powerplays, is a gamble Delhi should definitely try out against the formidable KXIP top-order.

The Potential Trump card Lamichhane:

lamichhane

Sandeep Lamichhane, the wrist-spinner from Nepal, has impressed one and all in the T20 leagues around the globe. In the limited opportunities he has got in the IPL so far, Sandeep has shown that he can deliver at this stage too.

EconomyBalls per Wicket
Lamichhane vs KXIP batsmen8.478.25

Though the economy is on the higher side, he has picked a wicket every 8.25 balls against the current KXIP batsmen since 2018. Gayle is one of the best players of wrist spin since the last two seasons and Rahul also has a terrific record against the wrist spinners. But lamichhane is someone who draws a lot of false shots and using him the powerplays is one of the attacking strategies DC can used. Moreover, Lamichhane has dismissed both Rahul and Gayle once in 4 and 8 deliveries respectively. Apart from that, Maxwell’s vulnerability against wrist spin can be well exploited by Lamichhane. He might go for some runs, but Sandeep is one of the gambles that is worth trying.

[Also read – IPL 2020: Delhi capitals Batting Analysis]

Can Cottrell be the Difference?

If there is one bowling type that has troubled the current DC batting lineup, it is Left-arm pace. Though the DC batsmen have scored at a brisk pace, they have struggled to keep wickets intact against the left-arm quicks.

DC batmen vs left-arm Pace since 2018 (min 10 balls faced)Balls per DismissalStrike Rate
S Dhawan34.00150.00
A Rahane31.00127.42
S Iyer16.33106.12
P Shaw16.00195.83
R Pant10.00190.00
M Stoinis22.00140.91
A Patel12.00100.00

Dhawan and Rahane have been fairly good. But the middle order mainstays Pant an Iyer have struggled against the left-arm quicks. Pant’s dismissal rate of 10 balls per dismissal is something that brings Sheldon Cottrell into the picture. Cottrell usually bowls in the powerplays and at the death, but with a little smartness in captaincy, if KXIP can keep him to bowl a couple of overs in middle overs instead of powerplays, they have a chance of getting two of DC’s best batsmen out before the death overs, which is a gamble worthy enough to take.

The Efficient Use of Mujeeb:

mujeeb

Mujeeb is someone who is a threat to the DC top-order as well as the middle order. Being a powerplay specialist, Mujeeb will be the one KXIP will be banking on to get the crucial wicket of Shikhar Dhawan. The Afghan spinner has bowled 9 deliveries to Dhawan and has dismissed the left-hander once, conceding 13 runs. Against all-off spinners since 2018, Dhawan gets out once every 18 balls and scores at a strike rate of 122.40, which makes it more obvious to start with both Gowthama and Mujeeb in the powerplays.

But the skipper needs to be careful in using Mujeeb and should not overbowl him in the powerplays. Mujeeb against the two mainstays Pant and Iyer has been really good too.

vs MujeebBalls per DismissalStrike Rate
Rishabh Pant5.50154.55
Shreyas Iyer21.00119.05

Mujeeb and Cottrell bowling in tandem against Pant and Iyer is Punjab’s best bet for dismissing DC’s middle order mainstays

The Struggles with Finishing:

Since 2018, both sides have struggled while finishing with the bat against each other, scoring below 8 runs per over in death overs in the head to head matches.

DCKXIP
vs KXIP/DC 7.797.96
vs Others11.0210.09

Delhi Capitals have scored 3.23 runs per over less against KXIP than they do against other teams, while KXIP score 2.13 runs per over less against DC. The death over run rates are surprisingly low considering the fact that none of these two sides have had the best death bowlers in the given time period. The upcoming season will see a change of personnel for both teams in terms of finishing with batting as well as bowling. And hence the numbers are likely to change. But given the records in the last two seasons, it will be a battle of death overs, the one who finishes well will certainly have a better chance.