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Title win still eludes twice finalists Delhi Capitals; What went wrong for them in WPL 2024?

WPL 2024: What went wrong Delhi Capitals Women and Takeaways from the campaign?


WPL 2024_ What went wrong Delhi Capitals Women and Takeaways from the campaign_ _ Walking Wicket (Images ©WPLT20_Twitter)
WPL 2024: DCW have reached Finals twice in two years (Images: ©WPLT20/Twitter)

The Women’s Premier League (WPL) 2024 stood out for several noteworthy reasons. There was a noticeable increase in thrilling matches, captivating fans with nail-biting ball encounters. Stadiums saw a surge in attendance, demonstrating a level of enthusiasm and support for women’s cricket that rivalled that of men’s cricket. Teams surpassed the 190-run mark on three occasions throughout the tournament, showcasing impressive batting performances. Moreover, Ellyse Perry achieved a remarkable feat by breaking the window pane of the Tata Punch Car, evoking nostalgia for the cherished memories of childhood cricket games where breaking glasses was part of the thrill.


However, this season of the WPL proved to be heartbreaking for the Delhi Capitals, who reached the finals in consecutive seasons, finishing top of the table. Their performance in the league stages was commendable, as they suffered only two losses. One of these defeats was particularly narrow, occurring in the opening match of the tournament against the Mumbai Indians. In a tense moment, with Mumbai needing 5 runs to win off the final ball, S. Sajana's six off Alice Capsey sealed the victory for Mumbai. Delhi Capitals were the only team to breach the 190 mark in the tournament twice while batting first. They had comprehensive victories to their name thumping down their opponents which reflected in a healthy net run rate of 1.198.



DC’s campaign mirrored that of India in the ODI World Cup 2023

In the end, it all boils down to who plays better cricket and shows a greater poise on the field. The journey of Delhi Capitals in this year’s WPL somewhere resembles that of team India’s journey in the 2023 World Cup. Both teams faltered badly at the final juncture. Also, a longer rest period before playing the final and lack of match practice shifted the momentum away from DC. Alas, they tumbled down at the final hurdle.


What significantly contributed to Delhi Capitals' dominant performance in the league stage was the seamless cohesion of the team, functioning as a formidable unit. Whether it was scoring brisk runs during the powerplay overs, with Shafali Verma leading the charge and hitting the highest number of sixes in the tournament (20), or skipper Meg Lanning providing stability in partnerships, the team clicked together effectively. Additionally, Jemimah Rodrigues showcased her ability to score all around the park during the middle overs, while Marizanne Kapp bolstered the team's finish with strong performances. Kapp also made crucial breakthroughs in the powerplay overs, while Shikha Pandey and Radha Yadav played pivotal roles in both stifling opposition runs and taking wickets. 


Furthermore, Jemimah's fielding prowess, characterized by her exceptional catches and ability to save crucial runs, added another dimension to the team's strength, akin to a charged colt. But all these didn’t translate the same way in the final. It was a bad day at the office for DC but one bad performance doesn’t take away the limelight of the dominance shown by them throughout the season. 



WPL 2024_ Meg Lanning is the highest run scorer in WPL 2024 (Photo_ ©X_Twitter)
Lanning was the 2nd highest run scorer in WPL 2024 (Photo: ©X/Twitter)
The finale debacle

Delhi Capitals won the toss on the big day against Royal Challengers Bengaluru. Skipper Meg Lanning decided to put runs on the board first. Delhi got off to a fast start, scoring 61 runs in the powerplay with Shafali going all guns blazing. Things started going downhill for DC in the 7th over when Sophie Molineux claimed three precious wickets of Shafali, Jemimah and Capsey. 


From 64-0 to 113-10, DC collapsed like a house of cards. They were unable to survive the spin web spun by Molineux, Shreyanka Patil and Asha Sobhana to completely derail Delhi to a paltry score of 113. Delhi’s bowlers can’t be blamed as 114 is too small a target to defend. Had it been a 140+ target on a sluggish spinning track, it would have been a challenging contest. 


It was Royal Challengers Bengaluru who applied themselves better to the conditions without any rush.  They displayed a positive attitude while chasing the target without taking any risk whatsoever. Ultimately, they achieved the target in 19.3 overs losing only two wickets.



Key takeaways for DC after a disappointing end to their season

Despite the disappointment of the final defeat, Delhi Capitals can draw numerous positives from their campaign. Meg Lanning showcased both hunger for the trophy and exceptional leadership qualities throughout the season. Shafali Verma demonstrated improvement in converting starts into substantial scores, adding depth to the team's batting lineup. Jemimah Rodrigues exhibited her ability to strike all around the ground, providing versatility to the team's batting order. 


Taking of the bowling, Shikha Pandey consistently bowled tight lines and picked wickets at crucial moments during matches. Marizanne Kapp continued her impressive form from the previous season, contributing significantly to the team's success. Additionally, Radha Yadav emerged as a revelation for Delhi Capitals this year, further strengthening their bowling attack. Looking ahead, if they can address their nerves on the day of the finale, Delhi Capitals possess the strong capability to clinch the trophy in the next season.


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