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Delhi Capitals look to sort out batting woes against PBKS, Axar’s batting position in focus(preview)

New Delhi, May 12 : Time and again, it’s been the batting, which has let Delhi Capitals (DC) down in the ongoing IPL 2023 and the David Warner led side will look to sort it out when they face a desperate Punjab Kings (PBKS) in the Match No 59 of the season at Arun Jaitley Stadium, here on Friday.

Both teams are coming off crushing defeats in their last matches respectively. Delhi lost to Chennai on a spin-friendly Chepauk track while Punjab Kings suffered a last-ball defeat against KKR at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.

The Capitals are placed at the bottom of the table with eight points from 11 matches and even if they win their next three matches, it will only take them to 14 points, which might not be enough to earn them a place in the top four.

The Australian duo of captain Warner and coach Ricky Ponting would certainly want more contributions from Indian batters in Manish Pandey, Ripal Patel and Aman Hakim Khan, who have done occasionally well but lacked consistency. Most of the time, it seemed that they lacked game awareness and couldn’t play according to the situation.

On the other hand, their foreign recruits — skipper Warner, keeper-batter Phil Salt or all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, have produced match-winning performances in few games but they are not consistent enough and were ordinary against CSK.

The 36-year old Warner did well in the first half of the season but he also has struggled in the last five innings with him having single digit scores in three of them. If the seasoned Australian opener wants his side to do well, he will have to lead from front.

All-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been their main contributor with both bat and ball and the team would expect him to forget his horrible run-out in the last game and produce the magical performance once again.

However, the biggest question is where does Axar Patel bat in that Delhi Capitals in that batting line-up ?? Despite having a star-studded coaching set-up consisting Ponting, Sourav Ganguly, Shane Watson, Ajit Agarkar, Pravin Amre and others, Capitals have not been able to make the best use of Patel’s batting.

Despite middle order not doing well, Delhi Capitals (DC) team management has held Axar back in their batting order consistently in IPL 2023, which has baffled many experts and pundits of the game. The southpaw has mustered 267 runs from 11 outings at an average of 33.38 in IPL 2023 and should definitely bat higher in the order.

The Delhi coaching staff have also come under criticism for not backing their youngsters enough. There is no doubt that the likes of Yash Dhull, Sarfaraz Khan, Ishan Porels and Priyam Garg have failed to capitalise on their chances but the constant changing and chopping in batting order and playing XI have also not helped their cause. In a high-pressure tournament like IPL, youngsters certainly need constant run in order to succeed.

As far bowling is concerned, the likes of Ishant Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Mukesh Kumar, Axar Patel and Kuldeep Yadav have done a decent job despite missing the services of speedster Anrich Nortje in the last two games.

On the other hand, it will be also a crucial game for Punjab Kings, who have 10 points from 11 games and they will look to bounce back after back-to-back defeats against Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders respectively.

PBKS batting line-up have been putting up runs on the board but their bowling hasn’t upto the mark in the last two games. Nathan Ellis has used his variations and slower ones well to contain batters but their star pacers Arshdeep Singh and Sam Curran have leaked runs off late.

In spin department, leg-spinner Rahul Chahar has had an average season while Liam Livingstone too just has two wickets to show in five games. Another spinner Harpreet Brar hasn’t been used wisely by skipper Shikhar Dhawan and it will be interesting to see his performance against Delhi.

In the batting order, Dhawan has been good with his consistent runs but opening partner Prabhsimran Singh has disappointed at most of the occasions.

Bhanuka Rajapaksa made a return from injury but couldn’t do much in the last game and Punjab might give a chance to Sikandar Zara in this game, since Shikhar also mentioned about not having an off-spin option in the game against KKR.

The likes of Jitesh Sharma and Livingstone have produced some brilliant performances and the team would want them to continue the good work.

Delhi Capitals: David Warner (capt), Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, Sarfaraz Khan, Aman Hakim Khan, Abhishek Porel (wk), Axar Patel, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Rovman Powell, Rilee Rossouw, Anrich Nortje, Mustafizur Rahaman, Chetan Sakariya, Mukesh Kumar, Phil Salt, Lungi Ngidi, Praveen Dubey, Lalit Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vicky Ostwal, Ishant Sharma, Manish Pandey, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Yash Dhull.

Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Shahrukh Khan, Matthew Short, Prabhsimran Singh, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, Jitesh Sharma, Gurnoor Singh Brar, Rishi Dhawan, Liam Livingstone, Atharva Taide, Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Nathan Ellis, Kagiso Rabada, Rahul Chahar, Harpreet Brar, Sam Curran, Sikandar Raza, Harpreet Bhatia, Vidwath Kaverappa, Mohit Rathee, Shivam Singh.

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