Former India batter Aakash Chopra reckons some strange team selections and perplexing captaincy moves marred what was otherwise an impressive campaign for Delhi Capitals (DC) in IPL 2021.
DC finished the league stage at the top of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021 points table with 10 wins and four losses. They were considered one of the favorites to win this year’s edition but bowed out of the competition following losses in both the qualifiers.
Reflecting on DC’s performance in IPL 2021, Chopra concluded that while the franchise performed reasonably well, it was a case of a missed opportunity for them.
Pointing out to what, he felt, were selection blunders from DC, the former cricketer said on his YouTube channel:
“Anrich Nortje did not play in the first half. Not that it mattered a lot but they kept out a big bowler. Steve Smith should have played in Qualifier 2 on a slow Sharjah pitch but DC played Marcus Stoinis instead, who batted at three. Doesn’t work like that.”
Chopra further added that Rishabh Pant’s inexperience as captain showed as he made some puzzling moves. The 44-year-old elaborated:
“Some captaincy decisions were baffling. I remember a game against RCB in which Stoinis bowled the last over and AB de Villiers smashed him. Then against CSK (in Qualifier 1), Tom Curran bowled the last over ahead of Kagiso Rabada. Yes, Rabada was not bowling well. But, if he had bowled with one leg, he would have been a better choice than Curran. He is that good.”
CSK needed 13 from the last over to win Qualifier 1 in Dubai. MS Dhoni smashed Curran for three fours to seal a place for his team in the IPL 2021 final.
“He wasn’t as attacking” - Aakash Chopra on DC skipper Rishabh Pant’s batting
Apart from his captaincy, Chopra felt that Pant’s batting too wasn’t as free-flowing as one has witnessed in the past few months. Speaking about the left-hander’s performance, he opined:
“His strike rate was around 120-125. That’s not the Rishabh Pant we know. He wasn’t as attacking as he was expected to be. His consistency was an issue. He scored three fifties but Delhi lost all those games. So his runs never came in a winning cause. It is a travesty but this is what it is.”
Rishabh Pant scored 419 runs in 16 matches in IPL 2021 at a strike rate of 128.52 with a top score of 58 not out.