Former Indian opener Gautam Gambhir has urged Delhi Capitals to include Steven Smith in the playing XI against Kolkata Knight Riders in the second Qualifier, which will take place at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Wednesday.
Gambhir feels all the DC batters play in a particular fashion and thus the team needs someone who can hold one end up.
Smith is not known for his pyrotechnics in the shortest format of the game but he is equally good against pace as well as spin. As the Sharjah pitch is expected to aid the spinners, DC will need a batter around whom the rest of the batters can bat.
Smith doesn’t have a great record in the IPL but there is no doubt that he is one of the best batters in the world and can deliver the goods in a big match. DC have lost their previous two matches and the Sharjah conditions are expected to help KKR more than them as the Eoin Morgan-led team has a quality spin attack.
Gautam Gambhir said while talking to ESPN Cricinfo, “For me, Smith’s record in the IPL doesn’t matter now. I think he has to be in especially, on a surface like this because if you look at the top order, Shikhar plays one way, Prithvi Shaw might have the best game or the worst game, Shreyas plays one way, Hetmyer plays one way, Pant plays his own way.
‘So Smith, probably, against a bowling lineup like this – against pace & against spin – he plays really well. So, I would definitely push him at no.3 and probably bat around him. Because, you need 140-150 on this wicket.”
On the other hand, DC’s batting line-up is full of stroke makers and all their batters like to hit the ground running. The former Delhi skipper feels that the team can either go on to make to a par score of 160 runs or they can also skittle out for 80-90 runs.
“The kind of batting lineup DC has, they can, without Steve Smith, make 160, or can get out on 80-90 as well. Because that’s the kind of batting Delhi has. So against Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine, its going to be a difficult task, especially for the left-handers. So, I would definitely want someone like Smith to put some runs on the board.”
A score of 150 would be par on the Sharjah pitch and it would be interesting how both teams will approach their batting innings.