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Capitals: Strong Indian core, weak overseas underbelly

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Vettori: Delhi Capitals' top four could carry them for a number of years (7:12)

Daniel Vettori and Ajit Agarkar review Delhi Capitals' 2019 IPL season (7:12)

Where did they finish?

Third. As unfortunate as Delhi Capitals might consider themselves, the bronze medal finish was massive improvement from when they were bottom of the points table last year. The franchise was rebranded last December after a new owner took charge and they must be pleased at helping the team make it to the playoffs for the first time since 2012.

What went right?

The decision to structure the XI around four Indian top-order batsmen. Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant allowed the Capitals to have a bankable and consistent batting core. And barring Shaw, the other three batsmen crossed the 400-run mark and contributed at least three half-centuries, with Dhawan finishing as the side's top run-scorer with 521 runs.

What went wrong?

A weak middle order comprising mainly overseas batsmen and allrounders. Colin Ingram, Sherfane Rutherford, Colin Munro and Keemo Paul were exposed on slow pitches and found out by spin bowlers. Ingram, hired as a T20 specialist, featured in 12 innings, but managed just 184 runs; Rutherford managed just 73 runs in 7 innings; Munro had 84 runs in four innings; Chris Morris and Paul got half a dozen times to bat but scored just 32 and 18 runs respectively.

All of these players love pace on the ball, but the Delhi pitch, where they played seven of their 15 matches this season, was slow and low, negating that strength.

Key numbers

The Capitals bowlers picked up 45 wickets at death (overs 16-20), which was most by any team. Even the average - 15.08 - was best for any team in the IPL.

The Capitals lower order - Nos. 5 to 8 - was easy prey. They lost 39 wickets at an average of 14.94, which was second-worst after Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Star performers

On the eve of the playoffs, Kagiso Rabada was forced to return home as precaution for a back niggle. By then, he'd already taken 25 wickets and was the frontrunner for the purple cap. Nineteen of those wickets came in the death overs (16-20).

Complementing him at the other end was Ishant Sharma, a surprise performer, considering he had been unsold the last two auctions. Using his experience and confidence built over the last year in Test cricket, Ishant's attacking lengths and his deceptive knuckleballs were vital assets. He was the third-highest wicket-taker in the Powerplay with eight strikes at an average of 6.85.

Amit Mishra was another key bowler, mixing his variations nicely to tease and befuddle batsmen in the middle overs.

What needs immediate fix?

The middle and lower order. However, it is not a straightforward fix.

Both Ingram and Munro are top-order batsmen and can pack if player consistently at No. 3. But that would mean breaking up their high-performing Indian top-four.

The Capitals need to find a dependable Indian lower-order batsman having used Axar Patel in that role without much reward. Rahul Tewatia, a handy allrounder, could be one of the options, but they would want him to perform consistently.

Overall, the Capitals had one of the most balanced units this IPL. Their bowling options were rich with experience. Each of their top order batsmen won them at least two games. However, a weak underbelly, the middle order, derailed their maiden march into the final.