Deadline: April 18, 7:30 PM IST
The vulnerabilities of both teams were exposed in their previous matches. The top order failed and the middle order could never lift them up from the early jolts. There is no point regretting it, though. It is better to realise the shortcomings sooner than later. If anything, they can consider it as a blessing in disguise.
Anrich Nortje has joined the camp, after recovering from COVID-19. He took 22 wickets in 16 matches in the previous season. Given the nature of the Wankhede wicket, his raw pace will be lethal to face in the powerplay.
Delhi: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant (c & wk), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Lalit Yadav, R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Avesh Khan, Anrich Nortje
Punjab might consider playing Chris Jordan in place of Riley Meredith. He is a handy batsman as well and definitely better than Jhye Richardson at No. 7.
Punjab: Mayank Agarwal, KL Rahul (c & wk), Chris Gayle, Deepak Hooda, Nicholas Pooran, Shahrukh Khan, Jhye Richardson, Riley Meredith/Chris, Jordan, M Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on recent performances, impact, and credit points.
Players to watch out for
It was KL Rahul’s first failure in five matches at the Wankhede Stadium. Before the game against Chennai, he had scored a hundred and three scores in the 90s. Although he will be up against the pace duo of Kagiso Rabada and Nortje, it will take an extraordinary delivery to dismiss the Punjab captain.
Rishabh Pant’s numbers at the venue aren’t any less: his average reads 64 and strike rate 192 in the Indian T20 League.
Ricky Ponting said that not using R Ashwin’s full quota might have been a bad idea. It was Delhi’s game to win. Ashwin’s last over may have fetched them a wicket or two. It, however, won’t be the case on Sunday. He likes feeding on left-handers, and he has the likes of Chris Gayle and Nicholas Pooran pitted against him. To make matters interesting, the wicket has been providing enough turn.
Mohammad Shami’s lateral movement might pose some trouble to the Delhi openers, especially to Prithvi Shaw who has a weakness against in-seamers. And if Punjab manage to dismiss one of the Delhi openers in the powerplay, they will have Ajinkya Rahane, who has been out of sorts, at the crease.
The Wankhede pitch seems to have gotten faster as the tournament progressed. Batsmen will have to be mindful while playing across the line. That being said, a target of 150 would not be enough if bowlers don’t maintain discipline.