April 1, 2019
| On 4 months ago

IPL 2019 KXIP vs DC Possible changes: Ankit Rajpoot in, Shami out for Punjab?

By Chaitanya Laxman

Two batting heavy teams KXIP and Delhi Capitals lock horns against each other at Mohali, the second best venue for batsmen in terms of strike-rate in IPL since 2017.

This makes it a ‘raining runs’ contest but also gives Delhi an advantage as between the two, Delhi have a better pace attack thanks to Kagiso Rabada whose searing yorker to Russell in the Super Over is still being talked about.

So what changes could Punjab make to boost their pace bowling attack?

The gamble of dropping Shami and drafting in Rajpoot

A lot was expected from Mohammad Shami in IPL 2019 considering his sensational form. But so far in three games he has conceded 119 runs and has only three wickets to show.

Also his economy is a staggering 9.91 and he has averaged 24 with the ball. This makes him the weakest link in Punjab’s bowling unit but the numbers don’t actually tell the complete picture.

Image credits @ AFP

For example he had nailed three great yorkers to Russell and had him castled only for the umpire to give it a no-ball. And then Russell cantered him for three sixes.

So will Punjab continue to believe in Shami’s potential and give him a longer rope?

The temptation to play Ankit Rajpoot

The presence of Ankit Rajpoot in the squad is a tempting option for Punjab as his death bowling figures are hard to neglect.

Whenever Rajpoot has played for Punjab their economy in death overs (15 to 20 overs) is 7.90 while in the matches he hasn’t played, their economy rises to  a whopping 11.20.

These numbers become important when taken into consideration Delhi’s mighty middle-order.

Also read: KXIP vs DC IPL 2019 Preview: Can Punjab restrict a confident DC?

Delhi’s cauldron: Axar or Amit Mishra?

One thing Delhi is being troubled with is their batting depth. Chris Morris solves this issue to a certain extent but if they need more assurance then Axar Patel can be an option.

Also read: KXIP vs DC Dotball Prediction | IPL Preview | Team News & Fantasy Team

However this will mean leaving out Amit Mishra from the playing XI who has done well so far by picking three wickets in two games. But he has struggled against Rahul and Gayle. Rahul has a strike rate of 276.50 against him and Gayle has a strike rate of 186.70.

It will be interesting to see whether Delhi stick with Mishra and sacrifice some batting depth or bring in Axar Patel who has plenty of experience of playing on this surface.

Chaitanya Laxman