The Weekend Leader - Final berth at stake, confidence the key to Ricky Ponting's Delhi Capitals

Final berth at stake, confidence the key to Ricky Ponting's Delhi Capitals




Delhi Capitals head coach Ricky Ponting would be more than happy with his team's performance this IPL season but as Qualifier 1 beckons, the Australian great knows that all the good work during the season could come to nought if his side flounders against Chennai Super Kings later on Sunday.

Ponting is all too aware of that and knows that the real test begins now.

"I think we should be very confident. You know, we have beaten them twice in the round games. But as you know, the playoff games are completely different. And you know I think our tournament really starts now," said Ponting ahead of the clash against three-time champions CSK.

The winner of the clash will secure a berth in the IPL 2021 final, while the losing side will play Qualifier 2.

Pointing out that it wouldn't be a cakewalk against the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK, the Australian great said, "We totally respect them as a playing group and them as a franchise, but I am pretty sure that if we play as well as we can play, we will be very hard to beat."

After an unprecedented IPL 2021 that took place over two phases and countries, Delhi Capitals are again part of the final four of the competition, for the third year in a row.

Finishing top of the table means the Rishabh Pant-led side get two cracks at securing a spot in the finals, and standing in between them and that right now are CSK, a side the Delhi franchise have beaten four times running.

DC recently completed the double over CSK, which will do Pant and Co's confidence a world of good going into the game on Sunday.

Across the two games, both their batters and bowlers rose to the occasion to see off one of the most successful franchises in the history of the competition. In Game 1, it was the Shikhar Dhawan-Prithvi Shaw show that stitched together a 138-run partnership that helped DC chase down 189 with seven wickets and 10 balls to spare. The second game was much more closely fought, where Shimron Hetmyer held his nerve to get DC over the line after the bowlers had restricted the Super Kings to 136/5 in Dubai.

With Qualifier 1 too taking place in Dubai, DC will be confident about putting their best foot forward and booking their place in the IPL 2021 final at the first opportunity.

Anrich Nortje has had the time of his life in the UAE leg of IPL 2021. He has picked up nine wickets in six games in UAE, troubling batsmen with his express pace. His economy of 5.59 is the best in IPL 2021 for bowlers with a minimum of 20 overs bowled in the competition.

Shikar Dhawan is only two sixes short of a double ton of sixes in T20 cricket, while Pant has been impressive in his debut season as skipper. On Sunday, when he comes out for the toss, he will become the youngest player to lead a side in an IPL Playoff game at 24 years and 6 days - IANS

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