The Delhi Capitals (DC) have lost 5 of their last 6 matches in the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL 2020), and aren't high on confidence heading into their clash against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) tonight.
Many of DC's star players have underperformed of late. Shikhar Dhawan has registered 3 ducks in his last 4 games, while the form of captain Shreyas Iyer and wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant are in question. Even pacer Kagiso Rabada, who held the Purple Cap for the majority of the IPL 2020 league phase, is going through a lean patch at the moment.
Against an in-form SRH side that has won their last 4 games, DC are in for a stern test. They clearly need to shake things up to arrest the free fall that they're in and make their first-ever IPL final.
Here are 3 tactical changes that DC could make to win against SRH.
#3 Rishabh Pant could be moved down the order
As mentioned earlier, Rishabh Pant's form is a major source of concern for DC. The southpaw is striking the ball at just 112 this season, and has looked rusty and low on confidence since his return from injury.
Pant has been used at either No. 4 or No. 5 for the majority of IPL 2020, and with the top order failing to construct partnerships, he has been tasked with rebuilding the innings. This has led to him being unable to play his natural aggressive game, and when he has tried to clear the boundary, he has more often than not holed out in the deep.
A move down the order to revive Pant and allow him to express himself at the death without worrying about losing his wicket and exposing the lower-middle order early. The 23-year-old's destructive side could be unleashed by relieving him of a bit of responsibility, and this is certainly something that DC should consider doing against SRH.
#2 Shimron Hetmyer could be brought back in place of Daniel Sams
DC had been playing with two overseas pacers in Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje from the start of the IPL, and they took it a step further by dropping Shimron Hetmyer to incorporate Daniel Sams in the playing XI.
The Australian has been unable to replicate his form from the Big Bash League (BBL), and has been expensive in all the games he has played so far. Moreover, DC's middle order hasn't looked too solid when they play both Ajinkya Rahane and Prithvi Shaw, and one of the two must be sacrificed to bring in Hetmyer.
The West Indian has been highly inconsistent so far in IPL 2020, and his shot selection has left a lot to be desired as well. However, Hetmyer is a match-winner, and he can be backed to come good when the chips are down. DC should seriously consider bringing him back into the playing XI at the expense of Daniel Sams, and this move is likely to materialise.
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#1 Marcus Stoinis could be asked to open the batting for DC
Perhaps the most left-field choice on this list, Marcus Stoinis could flourish as an opener for DC, just like he did in the BBL earlier this year. Shaw has been a nightmare for DC in the last few games, and has been unable to last more than a few deliveries at the crease.
If DC choose to drop Shaw, they would probably promote Rahane back to an opening slot. However, both Dhawan and Rahane are players who like to take their time and get settled before going big, and this could mean that the team fails to maximise the powerplay.
Stoinis, on the other hand, doesn't take too much time to get going, and could provide quick runs at the top of the order. Even if DC choose to drop Rahane instead of Shaw, the Aussie all-rounder could bat at No. 3 and keep the score ticking even if an early wicket falls.
DC might be unwilling to experiment in such a high-stakes game, but they should really give this bold move a thought.