Daredevils in quest for elusive first points
Match factsApril 18, 2013
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Big PictureFor Delhi Daredevils, desperate times are fast approaching. Each team will play 16 matches in IPL 2013's group stage. Daredevils have played five of those games without scoring a point; they've almost arrived at a stage where each game is a must-win for them to progress to the playoffs.
Why it has happened so is unclear. They have the names and experience that make successful Twenty20 combinations. In Mahela Jayawardene, they have a celebrated captain, in David Warner and Virender Sehwag, two of the most explosive openers in the game, in Morne Morkel one half of the world's best new-ball pairing. The backup cast of allrounders is not too bad either with Johan Botha, Irfan Pathan, Jeevan Mendis, Roelof van der Merwe and Andre Russell. Yet, they've been unable to put together a winning XI this year.
They came closest to points in their previous game, against Royal Challengers Bangalore, where the opposition's implosion meant the game ended in a tie. Umesh Yadav could not finish the one-over eliminator well with the ball, but 16 was still not too daunting a target. Who knows what could have been if - an albeit struggling for form - Virender Sehwag had not been off the field for the last three overs of the Royal Challengers innings and was eligible to bat in the Super Over.
Jayawardene said after the match that he wants to take the challenge ahead one game at a time, targeting wins in as many home matches as possible. On Thursday, Daredevils will begin that quest against Chennai Super Kings. But Super Kings, smarting from a shock loss to Pune Warriors, will be just as keen to win. Against Warriors on Monday, Super Kings' preferred method of building late into the chase before launching a brutal assault to mow down the stiffest of asking-rates did not come off.
Super Kings' inconsistency this season appears to be the result of a lack of solidity at the top; for the final surge to come, an adequate platform must be laid. The game against Kings XI Punjab apart, Super Kings have lost wickets and scored sedately in the Powerplay. Still, dropping Michael Hussey from the XI hardly seems the answer, as he has been the backbone of the batting over the seasons. It is a decision they must be reviewing ahead of the Daredevils game.
Players to watchAfter managing to keep things tight all through his spell against Royal Challengers - he was hit for one boundary in his four overs, taking 2 for 22 - Umesh Yadav gave Daredevils a near-perfect start to their Super Over. Faced with the daunting task of bowling to Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers with licence to hit, he managed four deliveries in and around the vicinity of the blockhole. But two length balls to finish off the over cost Daredevils 12 runs and, eventually, the match. He will be wary of repeating that mistake against the power-packed Super Kings line-up.
Dirk Nannes had a forgettable day against Warriors. After conceding around four an over in Super Kings' first two matches, he was taken apart by Aaron Finch and then Steven Smith at Chepauk. He went for 42 runs in his four, without taking a wicket. Not the kind of figures the world's second-highest T20 wicket-taker will settle for. He'll be eager to make amends against Daredevils.
Stats and Trivia
- 13-16: Daredevils' win-loss record in the IPL at Feroz Shah Kotla. Their win-loss ratio of of 0.81 is one of the poorest for IPL teams at home (min 15 games). Only Deccan Chargers had a poorer ratio (3-15 at Uppal)
- Suresh Raina is one short of 100 games for Chennai Super Kings (IPL and Champions League combined)
Quotes"Having lost five straight games, they have nothing to lose and will be coming hard at us. I will call DD 'Dangerous Delhi'."
Don't let complacency set in against an underperforming Daredevils, Super Kings bowling coach Andy Bichel warns
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo