Sunil Gavaskar’s column. If Rishabh Pant learns a lesson from the mistakes of the last two matches, then Delhi’s team can capture the coveted trophy this time. Of course, a captain is only as good as his team and there is no doubt that Delhi has a very good team. The team has a high standard batting line-up and the bowling department has a trio of best fast bowlers of the tournament. The team had to face defeat in both their previous matches as the captain chose his own different priorities.
Against Bangalore, he handed the last over to Avesh Khan, a relatively young and talented bowler, but he could not handle the pressure. In the qualifier against Chennai, Axar Patel was sent to bat first, while the left-handed batsman had not shown any batting performance in the previous matches. This meant that Delhi’s team had to suffer the loss of valuable deliveries, on which in-form Shimron Hetmyer could have scored an extra 15 or 20 runs. And when it came to defending the target, he gave the last over to Tom Curran, while Kagiso Rabada had one over left.
This is his first season as captain. In such a situation, if any of his decisions does not yield good results, then he will be criticized. Of course, his mentor and lone Mahendra Singh Dhoni had taken the same action as Axar Patel by sending Shardul Thakur to bat in the same match, while Thakur also barely played the ball for half the tournament. But then Dhoni showed what it means to be a leader. He came to the front and took Chennai to the final in the blink of an eye with the bat. The good thing about Pant is that he remains positive in every situation. So he will not be affected by what happened in the last two matches and will look at the match against Kolkata from a new perspective and play accordingly.
If this match was played in the Dubai Cricket Stadium with big boundaries, then Kolkata’s team would have been a contender. Because after that there are the mysterious spinners, but the Sharjah ground will also give a level playing field to the power hitters of Delhi. Of course, RCB’s aggressive batsmen failed against Sunil Narine and Varun Chakraborty but they were all right-handed batsmen.
On the other hand, Delhi’s team has a good mix of right and left-handed batsmen, so Kolkata bowlers will have to think about changing their line length. Both the teams must be thinking that their swashbuckling players should be fit for this match. Those players are Marcus Stoinis for Delhi and Andre Russell for Kolkata. If that happens, then we look forward to a wonderful Wednesday.