Delhi Capitals (DC) are at the top of the IPL points table 2021. That doesn’t come as a surprise to those who have followed the exploits of DC in recent years. DC were the finalists last year after finishing in third place the year before.
It's remarkable how the franchise has managed to turnaround their fortunes since IPL 2018. They finished last that year.
While DC have always had a talented set of players and team management, they were somehow never able to convert the same into performances. On that note, let's take a look at three reasons behind DC's newfound success in the IPL.
#1 DC have developed a strong core
Historically, DC have made very good choices in terms of players but haven't stuck with them for long enough. The team was home to the likes of AB De Villiers, Andre Russell and David Warner. However, at the moment, these stars are playing for RCB, KKR and SRH, respectively.
Things changed for DC in IPL 2019. Although their 2018 campaign was a disaster, DC retained the core of their squad for the next year's IPL. That included keeping the likes of Prithvi Shaw, Rishabh Pant, Avesh Khan, Amit Mishra and Kagiso Rabada.
These players are still a part of the DC line-up and have performed well for the team.
Prithvi Shaw has scored 308 runs this season at a strike rate of 166. Avesh Khan has picked up 14 wickets at an average of 16.5 with a strike rate of 12.85. Amit Mishra continues to serve DC well even at the age of 38.
DC's decision to form a solid core has helped them reap rich dividends. The presence of a strong core is necessary for any team to do well. in the IPL, An example in this regard is Mumbai Indians (MI), who have Rohit Sharma, Kieron Pollard and Jasprit Bumrah, to name a few.
#2 Stability at the top
In IPL 2018, DC had issues with their top order. They tried out the likes of Gautam Gambhir, Colin Ingram, Jason Roy and Prithvi Shaw but struggled for stability and consistency. That was one of the biggest reasons for their failure that season. Their opening partnerships in IPL 2018 read 12, 0, 50, 4, 7, 25, 59, 10, 1, 9, 21, 4, 24, 30.
In comparison, the opening partnerships for DC this season have been 138, 5, 59, 11, 81, 23, 132 and 63. One of the main factors that have influenced this change is the arrival of Shikhar Dhawan from SRH to DC.
He has been given trust by the team leadership and has shown great form for DC and is presently the IPL 2021 orange cap holder. He has batted with great vigor and purpose for the side. In 2019, Dhawan scored 521 runs, while in 2020, he raked up 618 runs.
The left-hander has also found a good partner in Prithvi Shaw, who set aside the demons he faced last season and has been in great form this campaign.
#3 A varied bowling line-up
DC has for years tried to develop a strong bowling line-up that could do well across conditions. It is only in recent times that they have found some success in this regard.
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The problem they faced was similar to other IPL teams. Top-class bowlers like Ravindra Jadeja, Jasprit Bumrah, Lasith Malinga, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Dwayne Bravo were already well settled in some of the biggest IPL franchises. That left a scarcity of top-class bowlers for IPL teams looking to beef up their bowling arsenals.
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DC sought to resolve that by picking up a mix of players. That included top international bowlers like Kagiso Rabada, experienced campaigners who might not feature in the national team but would do well in Indian conditions like Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra, and exceptional Indian talent looking for a place in the Indian team like Axar Patel and Avesh Khan.
They've also backed the Anrich Nortje and Ishant Sharma, tall bowlers who are surprise factors with their extra pace and bounce. DC have one of the most varied and strong bowling line-ups in the tournament.