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Feature

Axar, Ishant and Warner the only positives in Delhi Capitals' dull season

Misfiring top order, out-of-form overseas players among concerns for the ninth-placed side

Where they finished

Position on table: Ninth, with 10 points Wins: Five Losses: Nine
Under new captain David Warner, Capitals started the campaign on a forgettable note with five straight losses. But they fought back to win the next four of their five games. However, it was not enough to keep them in the hunt for the playoffs. Eventually, their seventh loss in 12 games meant they became the first team to be knocked out of the competition.

The good: Veterans Warner, Ishant shine

Reuniting with the franchise where it all began for him in the IPL, Warner took on more responsibility, especially when there was a lack of runs at the top, to blast six fifties in 14 matches. Though a number of those knocks came in losing cases, he finished the season with 516 runs at a strike rate of 131.63 to remain the leading run-getter for the side.
Another prolific international star whose experience helped Capitals come out of the losing streak was Ishant Sharma. He found a place in the XI in the match against Kolkata Knight Riders in Delhi, which was also the first match Capitals won this season, and took home the Player-of-the-Match award for finishing with 2-19. Ishant has not been a regular for the teams that he had played since IPL 2014, and an injury to Khaleel Ahmed opened doors for him. He made an instant impact and provided balance to the bowling attack. Ishant ended the season with ten wickets in eight innings at an economy of 8.24, the best for a Capitals pacer this season.
Apart from the veterans, Axar Patel showed his all-round prowess to provide crucial breakthroughs and chip in with the bat as a finisher.

The bad - Pant's replacement, lack of runs at the top

A misfiring top order was a major concern for Capitals, who had to rely heavily on Warner. Prithvi Shaw, Manish Pandey, and Mitchell Marsh had a disappointing season. Priyam Garg, who replaced Kamlesh Nagarkoti, played just two matches. Rilee Rossouw and Rovman Powell didn't grab their opportunities, only adding to their batting woes.
They also struggled to find an impactful wicketkeeper in the absence of Rishabh Pant, who was ruled out of the tournament. Sarfaraz Khan and Abhishek Porel also did not make valuable contributions with the bat. By the time Phil Salt settled in and started firing, it was too late for them to bounce back after a string of defeats.
Warner, after their loss against Punjab Kings, also said that their batting unit has struggled at their home venue this season because of "slow" and "inconsistent" pitches.

Top performer: Axar Patel

Having come into the IPL with a few good knocks under his belt for India in limited-overs, Axar transcended the reputation of a bowling allrounder to score runs regularly lower down the order. Despite his good batting form, Capitals did not use him up the order - the highest position he batted in was at No. 5 in three matches this season. He was the second-highest run-getter in the team behind Warner, with 283 runs at a strike rate of 139.40 in 13 innings. He also had a decent season with the ball, accounting for 11 wickets in 13 innings at an economy of 7.19, the best for a Capitals bowler.
What went wrong for Delhi Capitals this season?
3.9K votes
Shaw's disappointing season
Overseas players failing to make an impact
Delhi pitch not suiting the team combination
Under-utilisation of Axar with the bat
Unable to fill Pant-sized void

The highlights

Coming in at No. 7, Axar smashed the fastest fifty by a Capitals batter, off 22 deliveries to lift the team to 172 against Mumbai Indians in Delhi. It was also his maiden half-century in the tournament, where he hit four fours and five sixes.

Srinidhi Ramanujam is a sub-editor with ESPNcricinfo