Can Delhi Capitals seamers find the bite against Sunrisers Hyderabad?

With four wins out of nine games, time is fast running out for Delhi Capitals. A team which was built around young impact players for half a decade has struggled to find players who can close out games. They have blown hot and cold and it largely comes down to the overhaul of the pace-bowling attack.

It’s time the seamers hit their stride because one more off day against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Thursday and they will be cutting it very fine to qualify for the playoffs. Axar Patel is the only survivor from the storied attack that had turned the screws on almost every opposition in the last two seasons when Capitals dominated the league phase.

That earlier bowling attack comprising Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel and R Ashwin was relentless, could defend any total and wouldn’t allow oppositions to set improbable chases. The batting line-up has always been consistent, with Shikhar Dhawan being the standout performer leading a pack of impact batters. The batting story remains the same.

David Warner has assumed Dhawan’s role and the rest are all chipping in consistently. Their bowlers may have set up two easy wins, but they have been largely erratic right through the tournament. Captain Rishabh Pant was spoilt by the out-and-out wicket-takers through the innings.

If pacers Rabada, Nortje and Avesh mastered the hard lengths with good pace then Ashwin and Axar controlled the middle overs to a nicety. Pant barely had to use his sixth bowler in Marcus Stoinis. This season, Pant has struggled to find a consistent third seamer to back Shardul Thakur and Mustafizur Rahman. An off-the-boil Nortje didn’t help.

The wicket-taking options in the powerplay have been scarce. All he has in the name of an attacking bowler is Kuldeep Yadav’s left-arm wrist spin. But one may notice that Kuldeep struggles to settle down if the rest of the attack fails to control the Powerplay.

What must hurt Capitals is that the new-ball bowlers Shardul, Mustafizur and other seam options like Khaleel Ahmed, Chetan Sakariya and Kamlesh Nagarkoti have hardly looked incisive when the pitches have aided movement and bounce. Capitals had let go of their potent bowling attack and opted to splurge on Shardul and bring in more utility bowling options. It’s perhaps time Shardul the medium-pacer stood up and took charge.