Delhi Capitals (DC) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are two of the only three active IPL teams at the moment which have not won the IPL title yet, but the kind of squad they have got for IPL 2020, it shouldn’t be surprising if one of them manages to end their title drought this season.
Since both these teams belong to North India, it’s almost a derby whenever they come across each other in the IPL. As they take each other on for the 25th time in the history of the IPL on Sunday, let’s talk about one player who can prove to be the most valuable player for each of these two teams –
Delhi Capitals (Rishabh Pant)
A lot of people are of the view that Rishabh Pant plays a high-risk game and although he can do a fair bit of damage if he gets going, he is not reliable. But, if you look at Pant’s numbers in the last two seasons of the IPL, his average is 45.07, which clearly suggests that apart from scoring his runs at a very high rate, Pant is incredibly consistent as well.
There is a reason behind Pant’s consistency. He is someone who is capable of hitting sixes both with the straight bat as well as cross bat. While he is very efficient whipping the ball over deep mid-wicket, that’s not the only area where he deposits the ball into the stands.
Pant can hit sixes down the ground as well and can do that through both long-on and long-off. He can also go inside-out over the cover region.
Even if it’s a surface where it’s difficult to play cross-batted shots against the spin, Pant has got enough in his armory to take the bowlers to the cleaners. DC’s chances against KXIP will massively depend on Pant’s performance in the middle order.
Kings XI Punjab (KL Rahul)
There is hardly anyone who would have any doubts over the white ball potential of KL Rahul. Generally, most of the explosive openers at the top of the order look to just clear the infield and go aerial when the fielding restrictions are on.
But, Rahul has got the versatility to not just clear the infield by playing the ball in the air, but also pierce the gap through the field. Another quality that differentiates Rahul from the other openers is his ability to change gears through the course of the innings.
The KXIP skipper doesn’t just keep going at the same tempo regardless of the situation of the game. After going absolutely ballistic upfront, Rahul can then manipulate the spin in the middle overs before throwing caution to the wind again in the latter stages of the innings if he stays there.
Rahul’s versatility is the main reason why he has averaged over 50 in the last two seasons of the IPL. While his average in IPL 2018 was 54.92, it was 53.91 in IPL 2019. It’s highly likely that Rahul will set the ball rolling again in KXIP’s opening game of the new season against DC.