Rabada and Nortje set the pace for Delhi Capitals

Last year, Delhi Capitals’ run to the IPL final was largely down to their brilliant pace attack comprising Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje leading from the front. 

Published: 25th September 2021 08:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th September 2021 08:20 AM   |  A+A-

Delhi Capitals pacer Kagiso Rabada

Delhi Capitals pacer Kagiso Rabada (Photo | PTI)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Last year, Delhi Capitals’ run to the IPL final was largely down to their brilliant pace attack comprising Kagiso Rabada and Anrich Nortje leading from the front.  And with the current tournament shifting to the UAE, the team management will be hoping that the South African duo can once wreak havoc. It was an auspicious beginning for the Delhi franchise as their first match of the second phase went perfectly according to plan. Following Shreyas Iyer’s comeback from injury, coach Ricky Ponting decided to unleash both pacers in tandem right from the start. And it worked a treat.

Nortje had missed out on the entire India leg as the team management decided to focus on strengthening the batting in order to cope with the absence of Iyer. But knowing their track record in the UAE, it was inevitable that the 27-year-old would come back in the side. And a fiery opening spell and an equally devastating middle-order spell, in which he accounted for two crucial wickets, broke the back of Sunrisers Hyderabad in their previous match. 

Complimented by his strike partner Rabada, who claimed three scalps, it will be a daunting prospect for any team when they come face-to-face with the two premier pacers. “They were excellent, they are both quality internationals, two of the best fast bowlers going around at the moment and they put us under pressure. They got us into hard positions,” was how Kane Williamson had summed up their performance last time around. 

In last year’s purple cap race, Rabada finished as top wicket-taker with 30 in 17 games while Nortje was fourth with 22 having played a game less. And their ability to bowl fiery spells in tandem will be crucial if Delhi are to go all the way this time around.

Against Hyderabad, Nortje’s spell of four overs included a solitary slower ball while the eight fastest speeds recorded this season belong to the South African.  And a casual glance at the speeds recorded this season shows that out of the top 10 fastest balls, nine were from the South African teammates. Nortje’s heat along with Rabada’s ability to use his height to dig the ball short and their understanding from representing the same country will hugely benefit the team from the capital.

“KG learnt quite a lot. We are quite comfortable with each other and our relation has grown as we get along well. We chat simple stuff, like getting on top of off-stump, cliches, just about finding how to do it, knowing what you say to each other, building on it. How he bowls in certain situations in certain wickets,” Nortje cited the advantages of having Rabada in his corner during a virtual interaction.

Delhi’s next game is against Rajasthan Royals at Abu Dhabi on Saturday, one of the two teams to have beaten them during the first phase.  It will be tougher challenge considering the Royals will be imbued with confidence having snatched an unlikely victory from the jaws of defeat last time around. But with the two fastest bowlers of this generation at their disposal and Royals’ combined losses in the form of Jofra Archer, Jos Buttler and Ben Stokes, Rishabh Pant and his side will start as favourites.

DC vs RR, Live on Star Sports 1, 3.30 PM


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