Dubai: Swashbuckling Australian opener David Warner has the chance to redeem himself as a captain when Delhi Capitals take on Lucknow Super Giants in the second match of the first double-header in Indian Premier League Season 16 in Lucknow on Saturday.
Warner, who was dumped as the captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, will have a point to prove after taking over the reins in the absence of Rishabh Pant, who faces a long time on the sidelines after a car crash, and to achieve that, the left-hander needs to improve his personal batting form.
Along with Warner, Delhi opener Prithvi Shaw and Sarfaraz Khan will also have to prove their worth after being neglected by the Indian selectors, despite some impressive scores in the domestic season. Mitchell Marsh will be Delhi’s key player as the Australian all-rounder comes in with impressive scores against India in the recently concluded One Day International series.
Lucknow, on the other hand, face a tricky situation as a number of their foreign pros will be joining the team late, that includes the South African opener Quinton de Kock. Skipper KL Rahul’s woeful form too doesn’t augur well for the team.
Super Giants suffered another major blow when left-arm medium pacer Mohsin Khan is likely to miss major part of the season due to a shoulder injury.
“It is a blow not having him, there is no doubt about that. We are hoping that he might come good towards the end of the tournament,” Andy Flower said during a media interaction. However, Flower admitted that he might not be able to play this season.
“But, quite frankly, I had pretty much written him off as a selection option, and if he becomes fit at some stage during the tournament, I see that very much as a bonus. But I am certainly not expecting that.”
The first match of Saturday pits two depleted teams, who are led by two new captains. Punjab Kings start their campaign this season against Kolkata Knight Riders with many professionals from both teams still busy with their country’s commitments.
Punjab will be without Liam Livingstone and Kagiso Rabada while KKR, who suffered a big blow earlier when skipper Shreyas Iyer suffered a back injury during India’s Test series against Australia. Nitish Rana has been given the captain’s armband.
Punjab, on paper, look to have the edge with the experienced Shikhar Dhawan and Sam Curran, England’s player of the tournament during their Twenty20 World Cup campaign.
Delhi Capitals have named Abhishek Porel as Rishabh Pant’s replacement while Sandeep Warrier joins Mumbai Indians in place of Jasprit Bumrah in a statement released by the IPL.
Porel, a wicketkeeper-batter, has played 16 First-Class matches in addition to 3 List A and as many T20s for Bengal. Sandeep Warrier, who has played for India, has thus far played 68 T20s and scalped 62 wickets. He was previously a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore, having played 5 IPL games.
Punjab Kings vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Mohali, 2pm.
Lucknow Super Giants vs Delhi Capitals Lucknow, 6pm.