#3 Delhi Capitals
The most improved franchise last year, without a doubt, was Delhi Capitals. Under a new captain Shreyas Iyer and the coach Ricky Ponting, the team reached new heights in 2020. In the first half of the league, the franchise was consistently in the top two. They somehow lost rhythm in the second half but still managed to reach the final. Mumbai Indians then overpowered them to crush the dreams.
However, the dream is still alive. The regular skipper Shreyas Iyer suffered an injury to his shoulder during the India-England ODI series. Until he returns, Rishabh Pant will lead the side. That’s a significant move considering the kind of form the wicketkeeper-batsman is in. He has played a pivotal role in India’s recent victories in Australia and against England at home. Pant looks different, much better than he’s ever been, albeit he had already left everyone in awe of his talent a couple of years ago.
There is a flurry of batting talent in the line-up, so much that you won’t find room to fit in everyone together. Count the potential openers – Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Ajinkya Rahane, Marcus Stoinis. Add the new recruit, Steve Smith to the mix and the Caribbean flare of Shimron Hetmyer and there is the abundance of batting might. The mixture of youth and experience is going to be a treat to watch.
It’s not just the batting unit that seems powerful but the bowling unit also has enough variety to bamboozle the opposition. The spin pair of Ravichandran Ashwin and Axar Patel have certainly flourished, although in Test cricket. But they have enough experience for the shortest format of the game too. The pace trio of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, and Umesh Yadav adds to the firepower. Already, the squad looks great without even looking at the backups. This could well be the year when the Delhi-based franchise finds its hands on the trophy.