The biggest news to come out of the IPL today was Ben Stokes’ injury. The Royals were already without his compatriot Jofra Archer, and now they will have to do without the English all-rounder – widely regarded as one of the world’s best – as well for the rest of the tournament.
Archer, meanwhile, has been declared fit to train but is still expected to miss the next three games, in addition to the opening match he has already missed.
Absentees of such caliber and class spell trouble for a franchise that has been among the lowest ranked ones the past two seasons.
To make matters worse, they started their current campaign with yet another defeat, albeit a close one, which occurred despite their new captain Sanju Samson’s outstanding 63-ball 119, which brought them to within a single hit of chasing down the mammoth 222-run target set by Punjab Kings.
While their batsmen did okay, the real culprits were the bowlers, who conceded boundaries left and right. If it weren’t for the impressive Mohammad Shami, the Kings could have score a lot more.
The capital city side fell one short of clinching their maiden IPL title last year, and their determination to go one better was evident in their opening game as they chased down Chennai Super Kings’ 188 with ease.
Their openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan were in superb form, smashing stroke-filled 72 and 85 respectively.
The Capitals will be further boosted by South African pacers Arnrich Nortje and Kagiso Rabada’s availability. The pair missed the first game due to not having completed their mandatory quarantine but should now be available for selection, which spells more trouble for the Royals as the Proteas duo had combined for 52 wickets in IPL 2020. They were one of the main reasons why the Capitals has made the final.