MUMBAI: All-rounder Lalit Yadav is running against time to repay the unshakeable faith that head coach Ricky Ponting has reposed in him as Delhi Capitals face a must-win situation to keep their shoddy IPL campaign alive against Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Thursday.
This is the third IPL season for the lanky DC all-rounder, who is one of Ponting's favourite cricketers, and the Aussie legend has invested a lot in the man from Najafgarh.
However, modest returns of 137 runs from nine games with a strike-rate of less than 110 while batting in the middle-overs and an economy rate of nearly 8.5 with only four wickets, don't do justice to his enormous potential.
While numbers always don't tell the whole story but Lalit hasn't exactly been the best finisher for Delhi and despite his reputation at the domestic level, he has managed only six maximums in seven innings so far.
At least DC's eight points from nine games, with five defeats, show that all is not well in terms of combination as well as performances.
Anrich Nortje's retention has backfired badly as the South African quick has hardly been of use and save Kuldeep Yadav (17 wickets) and partly Khaleel Ahmed (11), none of the other bowlers have looked menacing.
Mustafizur Rahaman has been good in patches but far from being the skiddy customer that he was between 2015-18. Skipper Rishabh Pant (234 from nine games) showed glimpses of his destructive power but the team would want more from its skipper who is more than capable of hammering any attack into submission.
Pant's battle against India's fastest bowler Umran Malik will be a contest everyone will be looking forward to considering that the Jammu speedster only comes after powerplay, which could also be the time of the DC skipper's arrival to the crease.
Prithvi Shaw, who had started the tourney on a bright note hasn't been in his element in last few games and David Warner would ideally like to convert one of his fifties into a hundred.
It will be easier said than done against an attack that has Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran, T Natarajan and Marco Jansen who would be coming relentlessly at the DC batting unit to increase their points tally from 10 to 12.
The only good news for Capitals is Washington Sundar's absence after a recurrence of a hand injury, and probably, Jagadeesha Suchith will be bowling his slow left-arm orthodox. DC will however have to concentrate on young opener Abhishek Sharma (324 in nine games at 135 strike-rate approximately), who has been consistently giving good starts.
Skipper Kane Williamson hasn't really set the stage on fire and SRH's batting in their five wins mainly relied on Abhishek, Aiden Markram (263 in nine games) and Rahul Tripathi (228 in nine games).
The first game in which SRH's bowling and batting came under the pump was against CSK when they conceded 200 plus runs in 20 overs, and then left too much at the end, with Nicholas Pooran scoring consolation runs.
How well SRH fare while batting first under lights remains to be seen as they have mostly chased. Shardul Thakur's quickish medium fast bowling could test the SRH line-up. Thakur's bowling in the tournament has been a huge let-down for DC as he has got only seven wickets from nine games and at an embarrassingly high economy rate of 9.75 for a specialist front-line pacer.
The man, who is affectionately called 'Beefy' (Ian Botham's nickname) for his all-round prowess in England last year, has been a shadow of his old self with only 89 runs in seven innings.
Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (Captain), Ashwin Hebbar, David Warner, Mandeep Singh, Prithvi Shaw,Rovman Powell, Anrich Nortje, Chetan Sakariya, Khaleel Ahmed, Kuldeep Yadav, Lungi Ngidi, Mustafizur Rahman, Shardul Thakur, Axar Patel, Kamlesh Nagarkoti,Lalit Yadav, Mitchell Marsh, Pravin Dubey, Ripal Patel, Sarfaraz Khan, Vicky Ostwal, Yash Dhull, KS Bharat and Tim Seifert.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson, Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Abdul Samad, Priyam Garg, Vishnu Vinod, Glenn Phillips, R Samarth, Shashank Singh, Romario Shepherd, Marco Jansen, J Suchith, Shreyas Gopal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sean Abbott, Kartik Tyagi, Saurabh Tiwary, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik, T Natarajan.
Match starts at 7:30 pm