Where did DC Go Wrong This IPL: Delhi Capitals experienced a period of success between 2019 and 2021, making consecutive playoff appearances and reaching the final once. However, their performance took a dip last season as they narrowly missed out on the knockout stage, finishing fifth in the table.
The initial expectation was to bounce back strongly and secure a spot in the playoffs again, but DC’s journey in IPL 2023 took a disappointing turn. They were the first team to be eliminated from the race, managing only five wins out of 14 matches.
The reasons behind their downfall may be clearer to those working behind the scenes, but from an outsider’s perspective, it is evident that Delhi Capitals fell victim to mediocrity across all aspects of the game.
Absence of Rishabh Pant
One significant setback was the absence of Rishabh Pant, who suffered a car crash in December. This absence had a profound impact, but the poor batting form of key players from the 2022 season also dealt a severe blow to DC’s chances.
Failure of Shaw, Marsh and Powell
Prithvi Shaw, Mitchell Marsh, and Rovman Powell collectively scored over 750 runs last year, but this season, their combined total was a mere 241 runs. Phil Salt and Rilee Rossouw failed to fill the void left by Pant’s absence. Insufficient runs became their Achilles’ heel.
Shaw’s struggle was evident as he was dropped from the team midway through the tournament after scoring only 47 runs in six innings. His lack of runs adversely affected stand-in captain David Warner’s strike rate. While Warner managed to accumulate 516 runs with six half-centuries in 2023, his strike rate dropped from 150.52 in 2022 to 131.63. Essentially, his runs did not have the desired impact.
Struggle of Bowlers
Similar struggles plagued the bowling department. The all-rounders performed relatively better for Delhi. Mitchell Marsh led the wicket-takers tally for DC with 12 wickets in nine matches, placing him 20th overall. Axar Patel followed closely with 11 wickets from 14 games. However, the regular bowlers had a lackluster season. Kuldeep Yadav claimed 10 wickets in 14 games, while Anrich Nortje (10) and Khaleel Ahmed (9) struggled with injuries. With little to highlight about the bowlers’ performances, it is no surprise that DC’s campaign ended on a disappointing note.
Were There any Bright Spots for DC in IPL 2023?
Among the few bright spots for DC was Axar Patel. Apart from his 11 wickets, he made a significant contribution with the bat, scoring 283 runs from the lower order. His quickfire 22-ball fifty against the Mumbai Indians was the fifth-fastest half-century in DC’s history. Coach Ricky Ponting had intended to use him as a finisher, and promoting Axar up the batting order could have been a strategic move considering the failures of the top and middle orders. It would have been a risk worth taking.
Another positive development for DC was the return of Ishant Sharma. Due to an injury to Khaleel, the veteran pacer got an opportunity to play in the middle of the season. In a player-of-the-match performance, Ishant took two wickets for 19 runs as DC secured their first win of the season in April against the Kolkata Knight Riders, breaking a streak of five consecutive losses. Overall, Ishant finished the season with 10 wickets from eight matches.
As the DC camp begins planning for the next season, the focus will be on the performance of their batsmen and overseas players, as they will be under scrutiny to improve and contribute more significantly.