It is safe to say that Delhi Capitals are one of the most improved IPl teams in the last few seasons. Rubbishing the tag of underachievers, they shot up to success rather hurriedly, finishing third in 2019. The change of people at the helm of affairs – Ricky Ponting took over as their coach – was refreshingly pleasing too and come 2020, the Capitals managed to break into a territory they had not seen even once in 13 participations: the IPL Finals. Can they do one better and win the title this time around? What should he their ideal playing XI for IPL 2021? Today we shall be taking a look at the predicted playing XI for DC:

1) Shikhar Dhawan:


This is a no brainer! He was at his sensational best in the 2020 edition, when he finished only second to KL Rahul in the run for the Orange Cap. Owing to the dismal form of his opening partner Prithvi Shaw, Dhawan, at times, had the added burden of carrying his side along alone, although, performance-wise, it turned out to be his best season, and he ended up scoring 618 runs at 44.14 with 2 centuries.

2) Prithvi Shaw:


Shaw’s IPL numbers are not the most enticing. He has, in 38 matches, scored 826 runs at 21.74: an underwhelming average, to say the least. In the previous edition of the league, his third, he managed only 228 runs in 13 matches. However, he has been in superb form of late and has been scoring runs in the domestic circuit for fun. Thus he looks certain to open alongside Dhawan.

3) Steve Smith:


Steve Smith was released by the Rajasthan Royals ahead of the mini-auction. He might not have been able to deliver justice last time around, but Smith was on song against India in the ODI series, when he registered back to back 62-ball centuries, making a strong statement. He brings along a good blend of caution and aggression, the most desirable trait in a middle-order batsman in the shortest format of the game. Given Smith’s ability to switch gears, he is more than a handy addition in a side that has ample power-hitters, both at the top and the middle-order.

4) Shreyas Iyer (C):


After assuming the role of the captain, Iyer managed to lead Delhi Capitals into a territory that had remained elusive throughout their journey as a franchise. Similar to his flair with the bat, Iyer showed immense strength and courage in leading his side from the front and managed the team skillfully even in times of adversity.

5) Rishabh Pant (WK):


Pant has been one of the most talked players of late. Amidst many skeptic voices, Pant has notched up one performance after another to show his worth. While the last edition of the IPL – where he scored 343 runs in 14 games with only a single score of 50-plus and struck much lower than his career strike rate of 152 – was not up to his standard, his recent form infuses nothing but promise that a spectacular season awaits him

6) Marcus Stoinis:


Stoinis was one of the few all-rounders who made a mark in both departments in IPL 2020, and he’ll want to replicate his performances this year. The Aussie imparted great momentum to the DC innings at the death, and won more than a couple of games single-handedly. Chris Woakes and Tom Curran will serve as backups for Stoinis.

7) Axar Patel:


The ever-consistent Axar Patel will be the other all-rounder in the DC playing XI. The southpaw is one of the team’s key players, and his economical bowling will perfectly complement the other spinners in the side.

8) Ravichandran Ashwin:


Ravichandran’s Ashwin’s dominance in spin bowling is something that can’t be unnoticed. In IPL 2020, Ashwin took 13 wickets in 15 games but his economy (7.66) was very good. In 2021, he has emerged a more dangerous spin bowler for India, which was evident against Australia and England series. So, he will be a great choice for Delhi Capitals in the first game.

9) Umesh Yadav:


Umesh Yadav became a part of Delhi Capitals in IPL 2021 auction after the franchisee bought him for Rs. 1 crore. Umesh Yadav has great pace in his bowling. The right-handed bowler will be eager to showcase his bowling skills for his new franchisee. Therefore, Delhi Capitals should give him a chance in the very first game.

10) KG Rabada:


Kagiso Rabada is the most prominent bowler for Delhi Capitals. He was the key player to help Delhi Capitals reach the finals in IPL 2020. Bagging maximum of 30 wickets in 17 games, Rabada became the purple cap winner in the last season. He will be needed to lead the bowling attack from the front and thus, he should be part of the playing 11.

11) Anrich Nortje:


He bagged 22 wickets from 16 games, averaging a shade under 24 and with a strike rate of 16.63. Though his economy can be a concern at times, the Protea quick has the skillset to unsettle the best batsmen in the world. He seems all set to join his fellow countrymen KG Rabada in the XI in this season as well.

By Arvind Krishnan

Cricket writer, statistician and analyst. An unorthodox media student, marketing runs in his blood. Sports Marketer and analyst.