In the lead-up to the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) 2022 edition, Saturday’s match may have been billed as a face-off between Rashid Khan and Rishabh Pant or Hardik Pandya and Shardul Thakur.
However, it could well be the mini-battle between lesser-fancied all-rounders Lalit Yadav and Rahul Tewatia that could be decisive as Delhi Capitals takes on Gujarat Titans at the Maharashtra Cricket Association’s International Stadium under lights.
It was Lalit Yadav – ably aided by senior all-rounder Axar Patel – who starred in the Capitals’ opening win versus Mumbai Indians. Similarly, Tewatia, despite not being asked to bowl, took the game away from Lucknow Super Giants with his swashbuckling hits to help Titans take honours in the all-debutante clash.
It will be interesting to see how Lalit, the offspinner who is an equally good finisher, and Tewatia, respond to being in the limelight on Saturday. If the duo can sizzle, it will make the job of the big guns in their respective units much easier.
Both the squads had a training session at the stadium on Friday evening. Capitals’ all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, whose fitness is under the scanner, is serving mandatory quarantine after arriving in Mumbai.
The Titans will be hoping for Hardik Pandya to continue to build on the four overs he bowled in their maiden game and for Rashid to continue to put the Capitals’ specialist batters under pressure. Having failed to fire versus Mumbai Indians last week, it will be interesting to see how the likes of captain Pant and Prithvi Shaw respond on Saturday.