Daredevils still seeking first points
Match factsFriday, April 12, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Before the IPL began, if a poll was taken to predict which team would lose its first three matches, Delhi Daredevils wouldn't have got many votes. Despite the loss of Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor, the table-toppers from the previous season seemed to have enough firepower in the line-up. The absence of their spearhead Morne Morkel, busy with the domestic competition in South Africa, and Virender Sehwag, who was struggling with a bad back, set them back further. Morkel returned for the previous match but couldn't stop Mumbai Indians' marauding batsmen.
As they look to snap their losing streak, Daredevils will be boosted by the return of Sehwag, which means they will be able to field a full-strength line-up (among players available for this season) for the first time. What will also encourage them will be the fact that they are up against Sunrisers Hyderabad, generally regarded as one of the weaker teams in the competition despite their two wins from the first three matches.
Sunrisers have begun surprisingly well, largely on the back of a formidable bowling unit. Dale Steyn continues to show why he's the premier bowler in world cricket, Amit Mishra continues to show why he has been such a success in the IPL over the past six seasons, Thisara Perera has sparkled with both bat and ball, and even Ishant Sharma, usually not the most reliable of bowlers in limited-overs, has been tidy. Their batting isn't exactly fear-inducing though, with several little-knowns who are unlikely to be consistent match-winners.
Watch out for ...
Daredevils' spin attack: One of the big weaknesses in Daredevils' squad last season was the lack of experienced spinners. They tried to address that by recruiting South Africa's Johan Botha and Sri Lanka's Jeevan Mendis, both of whom can bat as well. Neither of them have impressed in the chances they got so far. Will they turn to another overseas allrounder, Roelof van der Merwe, to partner Shahbaz Nadeem or will they give 20-year-old left-arm spinner Pawan Negi a go?
Kumar Sangakkara: In the absence of Shikhar Dhawan, Sunrisers' batting is heavily dependent on their foreign stars. While Perera and Cameron White have contributed, their captain Sangakkara hasn't yet hit his stride. Given the limited number of game-changing batsmen in the line-up, Sunrisers need a big innings from Sangakkara soon.
Stats and trivia
- With 45 wickets for Daredevils, Morne Morkel is just one wicket behind Amit Mishra, the leading wicket-taker for the franchise
- Thisara is among the most nomadic of IPL players, having represented four different franchises in four seasons: he began with Chennai Super Kings in 2010, moved to Kochi Tuskers in 2011, switched to Mumbai Indians in 2012 and is currently with Sunrisers
- Over the past week, Sangakkara became the second wicketkeeper, after Pakistan's Kamran Akmal, to complete 100 dismissals in Twenty20s
"Viru (Sehwag) is improving, he is getting better with every passing day. But we will take a decision on him only tomorrow. There is still 24 hours for the match, so there is plenty of time for him to be fully fit."
Siddarth Ravindran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo