Seeking home comforts after multiple reverses at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi Capitals will be desperate to buck the trend when they take on a rejuvenated Kings XI Punjab in the IPL here Saturday. Rechristened before the start of the cash-rich event's 12th edition, Delhi Capitals have been at ease on the road, winning three matches on the trot after an authoritative beginning in Mumbai.
However, things have turned out quite differently in their home ground, where they found the pitches far from friendly. The unwavering support, cheers and chants, from the galleries have not helped so far and the side, coached by Ricky Ponting and mentored by Sourav Ganguly, will look to play in the manner that befits the two greats' status in world cricket.
For they know that if they are able to live up to Ponting and Ganguly's expectations, chances of the fans going back home with smiles on their faces will increase manifold. And so will be their prospects of reaching the playoffs. Standing in their way will be mid-table team Kings XI Punjab, who are also eyeing the title that has so far remained elusive.
Ravichandran Ashwin's outfit will not be short on confidence, having easily beaten Rajasthan Royals three days ago. The likes of Chris Gayle, K L Rahul, David Miller and Mohammed Shami will look to capitalise on Delhi's miserable record at home, and with Ashwin leading from the front, it may not be an improbable task for the confident visiting team.
Shreyas Iyer and Co have only one win from their four home matches, the lone victory coming in the Super Over after the match against Kolkata Knight Riders ended in a tie. Rishabh Pant will again be in focus after his fiercely-debated World Cup exclusion, having failed in Thursday's defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians.
Disappointed at being ignored for the showpiece, the highly-rated young wicketkeeper-batsman will certainly look to prove a point. Smarting from the onslaught by the Pandya brothers -- Hardik and Krunal, who smashed 54 runs in the last 19 balls on a slow pitch, the Delhi bowlers will hope for a better outing at the death. In batting, the onus will be on senior pro Shikhar Dhawan to lay the foundation, and he will have the talented Prithvi Shaw at the top of the order.
After suffering their third defeat in four outings here this season, Iyer had said, "It's really important for us to win home games, especially on these tracks. "Unfortunately we lost the toss, and we got outplayed in all three departments. We practice on the pitches that are also slow. But when you come here, it's totally different. We have to get used to these conditions."
For his team to harbour hopes of a rare win, skipper Iyer, himself, will need to lead by example. Teams (likely XI): Delhi Capitals: Shreyas Iyer(C), Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Rishabh Pant (WK), Colin Ingram, Keemo Paul, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Ankush Bains, Chris Morris, Sherfane Rutherford, Jalaj Saxena, Sandeep Lamichhane, Trent Boult, Avesh Khan, Nathu Singh, Bandaru Ayyappa, Colin Munro, Manjot Kalra. Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul (WK), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Karun Nair, Moises Henriques, Varun Chakravarthi, Harpreet Brar, Simran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Hardus Viljoen, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi.