Delhi Daredevils IPL 2012 review May 26, 2012

Silverware eludes powerhouses Delhi

Despite being at the top of their game through the league stages, Delhi Dardevils ran out of steam when it mattered the most. They need to reward their consistency with trophies

Where they finished

Third place, at the end of everything with two deafening defeats in the playoffs to deal with. Yet, after their 2011 nightmare, their single big benefit from this edition would be a return to being one of the IPL's more consistent teams. What they would want now with all this consistency are some trophies. At least their consistency in the league phase has rewarded them with a place in the Champions League T20.

Key player

Despite the opening presence of Virender Sehwag and David Warner at the top, it was Morne Morkel's venom that set Daredevils on its way to the playoffs at the start of the IPL. Height, pace, accuracy, the ability to generate awkwardness from batsmen and a calm persona helped Morkel signal the turnaround in Daredevils' fortunes and saw them sail through the first six weeks. A team of quicks supporting him certainly helped but Morkel led the pack like he was meant to but ask batsmen facing him about the 160 dot balls in the 378 bowled. Umesh Yadav was a good partner and the reasons to keep Morkel out of the XI versus Chennai Super Kings will forever be debated. Team balance, he said. More foreign players in an XI, grumbled others. One way or another, more Morne anyway.

Bargain buy

For all the cursing about a lack of spinners, Daredevils would believe that its uncapped left-arm spinner, Shahbaz Nadeem (bought for Rs 30 lakh), at least gives them a tidy option. He had an ordinary run in his last half of his 12-match IPL, taken to the cleaners by Jesse Ryder and Sourav Ganguly but surely that is a 22-year-old's rite of passage. Of all the slow bowlers tried by Daredevils, it was Nadeem who got more wickets than anyone else and had a better economy rate than Morkel, Yadav and Varun Aaron. A place in the XI heading into the final week of the tournament could have been argued for.

Flop buy

Surely $700,000 is match-winner's money. It's what Venugopal Rao cleaned up at the 2011 auction, so to have played only ten matches out of a season's total of 18 with a return of 122 runs means that some numbers are not acting up. Rao turned up in the middle order, often at No. 3, ahead of Mahela Jayawardene and Ross Taylor on a few occasions, but was unable to return a strike-rate higher than 104. It is the new statistic that batting signings will be judged on in Twenty20 and by that count, Rao needed better numbers than he had this season.


Without doubt, David Warner's decimation of the Deccan Chargers' hopes in the team's chase of 187 in Hyderabad. Not because it was a batsman smashing bowlers all around - this was the Chargers minus Dale Steyn, remember - but because Warner brought to bear in splendor, abandon and just crazy hitting, his impact in the shortest form of the game and why his name had travelled far. Just like Warner himself who was playing in only his second IPL 2012 match having stepped off a plane and a Test series in Dominica just a fortnight ago. Often, matches in the IPL go past in a blur; Warner's 109 not out off 54 balls, with seven sixes, was memorable for its aggression and the fact that he won Daredevils the game by nine wickets, with 20 balls to spare.


Naturally the final-week qualifiers. Daredevils won both tosses and botched it twice. The quicks had given Daredevils much fuel all through the IPL but the omission of spinning options in Roelof van der Merwe or Shahbaz Nadeem to start with cost them on the slow-spinning Pune track against Knight Riders. To keep Ross Taylor back behind Venugopal Rao and 19-year-old left-hander Pawan Negi when the run-rate began to climb, had an explanation in theoretical tactics but on the field it just looked plain illogical. Then in the last-chance saloon versus Super Kings, Morkel, the tournament's highest wicket-taker, sat out because of Andre Russell's all-round skills. The result met a logical end: no wonder, the short cut to the final was cut short.


All the way to the final week, it looked as if Daredevils had got their mojo back or rather got the formula right. Two semi-finals in the first two editions followed by a narrow miss of the knockout through net run-rate in the third shows that they remain one of the more consistent teams of the IPL. Yet the bottom-placed finish in 2011 could be the blip that was needed to get their shape back. It may look like a love for quick bowlers - there are nine on their roster, including two of India's fastest - or to keep looking for the allrounders perfect for Twenty20 or just the ability to identify batsmen who can do the business. The razzle-dazzle of Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen and Warner was strengthened by the low-on-noise high-on-quality Mahela Jayawardene. It should have surprised no one that they marched through the first six weeks of the IPL with few who could them. This is what they need but all the way to the business end will require a rethink and maybe more trust in their own spinners.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2012, 6:30 GMT

    it was really sehwag's fault sending Rao ahead of taylor, patan, it was almost achived match, he could manage to cantrol the match, and the couch responsible as well, by letting him to make such a foolish decision,

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2012, 5:23 GMT

    Totally agree, Captaincy should be corrected .then can be keep hopes on CLT20.

  • Sumit on May 27, 2012, 19:57 GMT

    the downfall in the finishing stages was plotted long back, when DD insisted on playing a woefully out of touch Ross Taylor throughout. once it was clear that he was not in good form doug bracewell and andre russel should have been given opportunities. even van der merwe could be tried. all of them are all rounders and can bat as well as ross taylor, while giving you additional bowling options. prob is DD didnot experiment with team composition in league phase but all of a sudden made wholesale changes in the business end. whatever said and done giving 1st over to sunny gupta against CSK can never be justified when both hussey and vijay are excellent players of spin

  • Pranav on May 27, 2012, 17:38 GMT

    if Morne Morkel was in,CSK would never have scored above 200. And who's that "GUPTA!" & he was harmed by Murali Vijay. If Morkel was there, Mural vijay wouldn't have taken his century becos he's not able to handle fast bowlers well like Morkel.

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2012, 9:14 GMT

    1. Win the toss and bowl first on a flat track 2. Keep Morkel out 3. Sunny Gupta - first match - Eliminator 4. Russel for Irfan when you have Agarkar to partly fit the slot and surely would have had better analysis that Gupta and Aaron. 5. Sehwag 1 down 6. Persist with Rao in the middle order 7. Bring himself on and 21 runs in the over Sehwags decisions in the eliminator... now what would have taken to decide wiser?!?!?!

  • narsimha on May 27, 2012, 8:33 GMT

    only one person responsible for this mess -SAHWAAG, what a l ooser , bad team selection RAO is not a natural t-20 player , he should not be in playing 11 for ant match ..

  • Lovetesh on May 27, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    In the CLT20, DD should make Mahela Jayawardene Captain. Sehwag should play only as batsman. And whatever the pitch is Morne Morkel must play. Hopefully KP will be available for CLT20.

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2012, 6:00 GMT

    Keeping M. Morkel and Naddem out of X1 was just unbelivable. I first thought they were injured. Sehwagh should take some tips from Ghabhir and Dhoni on how to get the right composition. I would have surely played Morkel first and then selected other 3.

  • Nilesh on May 27, 2012, 5:18 GMT

    I think Sehwag was influenced by what his pace attack did (especially in Dharamsala) and maybe thought they could pull it off on a flat and slightly slower track even without their lead bowler. Giving a player who hasn't played in any IPL match yet the first over in a crucial match was a big risk (even though he was perhaps best suited to understanding the pitch and the conditions) and it failed this time (but Sehwag could have been a hero had it worked). I feel that the fact that DD did not give Bracewell a chance to play left them with 1 less tried and tested option when Irfan got injured. They need to plan their playing 11 better in the league phase so that they have replacements ready who have also played a few matches as they head into the playoffs. The performance of the youngsters was overall quite good and hope to hear more about Nadeem/Negi/Chand in the future. Overall, a good showing though and the fact that they qualified for the CLT20 should be encouraging.

  • Alex on May 27, 2012, 3:56 GMT

    I would fire eric simons. They can't get rid of sehwag. Sehwag is delhi. They can't remove captaincy from sehwag. So i woukd remove simons and bring some brilliant tacticians.

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