Although Iyer might miss the entirety of the IPL 2021 season, DC have a decent chance of making it to the playoffs. They have a number of experienced players who could fill in for Iyer, and they'll take heart from their inspired run to the final last year.
DC's squad for IPL 2021: Shreyas Iyer, Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Prithvi Shaw, R Ashwin, Rishabh Pant, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Lalit Yadav, Anrich Nortje, Pravin Dubey, Chris Woakes, Steve Smith, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Umesh Yadav, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddharth
Among the above squad, Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis and Steve Smith are capable of opening the batting. In this article, we predict DC's opening combination for IPL 2021.
What did DC do in IPL 2020?
Shikhar Dhawan and Prithvi Shaw were DC's first-choice opening combination in IPL 2020. While the former took a while to get off the blocks, Shaw got his campaign off to a blazing start. But the pair's fortunes went in completely different directions soon after.
While Dhawan entered a purple patch, even becoming the first player to score consecutive hundreds in the IPL, Shaw's form fell off rapidly. He notched up a line of single-digit scores and was dropped from the playing XI in favour of Ajinkya Rahane.
Rahane, too, couldn't make an impact, and Shaw wormed his way back into the team towards the end of the league phase. But his return didn't go to plan, leaving DC to open with Marcus Stoinis in the last two games of the season.
Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan likely to open the batting for DC in IPL 2021
Iyer's injury throws a spanner into DC's works. Former Rajasthan Royals captain Steve Smith might have to be used in the middle order as an anchor, while Stoinis might be required to provide momentum in the latter half of the innings.
So it's quite clear what DC's opening combination will look like. Their leading run-getter from last year, Dhawan, walks into the team and is once again an early contender for the Orange Cap in IPL 2021.
Fresh off having scored over 800 runs in 8 games in the Vijay Hazare Trophy and leading his team to the title, interim Mumbai captain Prithvi Shaw should take up the other spot at the top of the order. Although his disastrous IPL 2020 campaign is still fresh in memory, the 21-year-old seems to be reborn as a player.
Shaw and Dhawan will have a lot of responsibility on their shoulders in Iyer's absence. They can't afford to waste balls in the powerplay, with two sedate batsmen in Rahane and Smith to follow.
DC will hope that the duo can form a formidable opening partnership and help the team go one step further in IPL 2021.