Delhi Capitals qualified for the playoffs for the first time since 2012. (Image credit: Delhi Capitals Twitter)
When Delhi Daredevils changed their name to Delhi Capitals for the 2019 Indian Premier League, there were expectations that the franchise would put their inconsistent years behind and register a better showing in the tournament. Under Shreyas Iyer and with the watchful eyes of head coach Ricky Ponting and Sourav Ganguly, Delhi Capitals have surpassed expectations. At the Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday, Delhi Capitals defeated Virat Kohli’s Royal Challengers Bangalore by 16 runs as they joined Chennai Super Kings in the playoffs. Shikhar Dhawan and Shreyas Iyer hammered fifties and a superb all-round bowling show helped the Delhi Capitals reach the playoffs for the first time in six years.
Delhi Daredevils had reached the playoffs in 2008 and 2009 before undergoing a slump in 2010 and 2011. In 2012, they managed to reach the playoffs but lost in the qualifier to Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk. The 2019 edition of the tournament offers Delhi Capitals the chance to win a playoff match for the first time in their career and they will be hoping that a win in one of their remaining two games gives seals a top two spot for them.
The main reason for the change in the format of the playoffs in the IPL is indirectly due to Delhi Daredevils. In 2008 and 2009, they had topped the group stages but crashed out in the semi-final. In order to reward the consistency of the top teams and also give an added incentive to teams finishing one and two, the IPL in the 2011 edition introduced the concept of Eliminator and Qualifier. The team that finishes in the top two gets two chances to qualify for the final. The top two teams square off in Qualifier 1 while the third and fourth place teams play the Eliminator. The team that loses Qualifier 1 plays the winner of the eliminator in Qualifier 2 while the winner of Qualifier 1 enters the final directly.
After the win against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Delhi Capitals skipper Iyer said, “Before the start of the tournament we wanted to qualify, so we are really satisfied and happy now that we have qualified. We were termed as the underdogs before the start of the tournament and before the start of every match we think the same.”
Delhi Capitals will now take on Chennai Super Kings on May 1 at the MA Chidambaram stadium and they finish the league stages on May 4 against Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla.