IPL 2020 LIVE: Ponting, Iyer eye strong start for Delhi Capitals

After having had a reinvigorating season last year, Delhi Capitals will start their 13th season of the Dream11 Indian Premier League (IPL) today (Sunday) against Kings XI Punjab at the Dubai International Stadium.

The Capitals will look to resume from where they left off last season, having made it to the play-offs in an impressive campaign marked by brilliant team performances.

The most of the players like all other teams will be playing competitive cricket for the first time in more than six months. Coach Rickey Ponting draws confidence from the way team has trained for the IPL season “We have done most of our planning and research on Kings XI leading up to this first game. One thing I say about IPL is that every squad is really strong. We can talk about how strong our team is, but I can guarantee that you can say the same thing about every other team,” expressed Ponting.

“We learned some lessons last year that if we turn up 100% prepared to play and committed to our tasks and plans, we think we will be really hard to beat. You know it’s been a long lead-up to this first game, but I’m looking forward to the challenge, as I’m sure all the players also are. I expect that we will start the tournament strong tomorrow,” said the Australian great looking ahead to his team’s opening match.

While captain Shreyas Iyer was quizzed on what he thinks about new additions in the form of Ashwin and Rahane, to which he replied, “They definitely bring a lot of strength and experience, and if you see the practice sessions we have had over the last few days, they have been amazing. They help everyone in the team and especially the younger guys.”

“With Rahane also in the mix, we think we’ve got a really balanced squad of players. There’s a lot of competition for spots and lots of flexibility. He gives us more depth to our batting and with the rest of the players in fine fettle, we think we’ve got lots of flexibility there,” added Ponting addressing the query on where he sees the experienced Indian fit into the side.

On challenges of playing away from home, and in the UAE, Shreyas reckoned that it “will be a big task” for his team, but “Dubai being a slow wicket shall help” in the latter stages of the tournament.

Asked whether playing in front of empty stadiums will be a challenge, Ricky said, “Playing in front of empty stadiums will be different. There are some challenges there for all the boys but once we do start, it will be about our group dragging their own atmosphere and energy, and will be focusing on lifting each other up.”

The 25-year-old Iyer was asked about the bio-bubble and how his team is dealing with it. “Circumstances are definitely challenging and unusual for us because we are used to staying in the sun for 6 hours. But we will be giving our best efforts to follow each and every rule, and at the same time we will be trying to come together as a team to make sure we are able to keep ourselves entertained and to ensure that we don’t feel like we are far away from our families,” he said.

Sending a message to the Delhi Capitals’ fans, Ponting said he would be hoping to do right by them. “We know we will have great support from back home, especially from Delhi. We’ve just got to make sure that we are doing the right thing by our supporters. So far the coaching group has done a good job to get the players prepared and now it is up to all of us to make sure we are ready to for the first game tomorrow,” said the Head Coach.

Ricky was also of the opinion that “seamers will have an impact during the early stages of the tournament” but “it will spin later as the season progresses.” “With only three venues and like 24 games in each stadium and only 4 wickets being used, 5 or more matches will be played on one pitch, so I think we can expect the conditions to change quite a bit,” he said.

Meanwhile Shreyas was asked if his team has decided on how they will be celebrating dismissals in the centre, to which he said, “We haven’t decided anything yet. We did celebrate in our internal practice games by giving each other fist bumps. But we will have more clarity once we are briefed in our meeting later today.”

Addressing the ban on use of saliva during games, Ponting said he reckons shining the ball does not affect a T20 game as much as it does in a Test match. He said, “We’re having a health and safety meeting later this afternoon, where our doctors and physio will take about measures we need to take. Use of saliva is a habit – and I’ve spoken to the manager and I know that there are hefty fines. We are still a bit unsure on certain things – for example if sweat is allowed? But we will be briefed later today and I’m sure once games start, players will be aware of what they can do and what they can’t.”

Kings XI Punjab will be eyeing a new start under their new captain KL Rahul.

A battle within a battle
As the teams battle it out in the middle, in Shreyas Iyer and KL Rahul, the game offers a chance to witness two young leaders going up against each other. IPL 2019 was Iyer’s first full season as DC captain while IPL 2020 is the first season when Rahul will be leading the side. Although their batting will be closely watched and followed, the two will have their eyes on the bigger prize – an elusive IPL trophy for their sides.

Five players to watch out for:
While both the sides have plenty of players who can change the course of the match, here are our top five picks who could make an impact at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.

KL Rahul
To put it mildly, KL Rahul was absolutely breath-taking with the bat over the last two seasons for Kings XI Punjab, amassing over 1250 runs, with 12 fifties and a hundred. Named KXIP skipper this season, he will be eager to resume from where he left last season and get the team to a flying start in the IPL 2020. The stylish right-hander uses his bat like a wand and with his wide range of strokes, you just cannot take your eyes off him.

Chris Gayle
If Rahul can use deft touches and steal the show, Chris Gayle can use brute force to set the ball rolling for his team. The Universe Boss holds the record for the most hundreds (6) in the IPL, in addition to 28 fifties, and has close to 4500 runs against his name. With his ability to clear the fence with utter ease and score at a brisk pace, Gayle remains a force to reckon with.

Shreyas Iyer
Shreyas Iyer led Delhi Capitals to the final four last year and will be out to make a point to guide them a step further this season. The right-handed batsman can attack at will and has a good mix of power-game and delicate strokeplay in his batting arsenal,which makes him one of the players to watch out for.

Rishabh Pant
Unconventional, audacious, powerful, cheeky and effective. Rishabh Pant, the Delhi Capitals’ wicketkeeper, is one of the most entertaining batsmen going around. The left-hander, batting in the middle order, has all the traits to change the game on its head in a matter of few balls.

Kagiso Rabada
Pace, bowling variations, a knack of being effective at any stage of the game and an ability to deliver under pressure makes Kagiso Rabada a desirable prospect for any side. He was extremely impressive in the IPL 2019, scalping 25 wickets in 12 games, and DC will be more than happy if he starts firing with all cylinders from the first game of the IPL 2020 season.

The match will start at 7:30 pm. But the fans can catch all the live action on Star Sports network channels, Star Sports regional channels, Star Gold and a host of regional movie channels like Jalsha movies for the Bangla-speaking audience.

Admin Sportz Front

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