Delhi Daredevils 2013 review May 20, 2013

From boom to bust for Daredevils

After the high of topping the league phase last season, Daredevils finished bottom of the pile after a series of forgettable performances
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Where they finished
Ninth in a league of nine teams, a shocking result for a team that dominated the league stages last year. But their ranking is not entirely out of place when you look at Delhi Daredevils' standings across all six seasons. For the second time in three years they've finished at the bottom of the table, after being semi-finalists in 2008, 2009 and 2012. Much like a roller coaster at an amusement park, sharp dives always seem to be just around the corner for the team.

What went right
In a largely gloomy season, there were some bright spots. Daredevils halted their disastrous run of six straight losses in this season with a performance that revived memories of their dominance last year; Against Mumbai Indians, Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene took advantage of some shoddy bowling to post a thumping nine-wicket win.

They also had a pleasant outing at their 'adopted' home venue in Raipur, Chhattisgarh, winning both games there against Pune Warriors and Kolkata Knight Riders. The common contributing factor in both wins: David Warner.

What went wrong
Kevin Pietersen's knee problem and the grevious assault on Jesse Ryder left Daredevils without two big-hitters but they suffered more on account of other injuries and inconsistency. Virender Sehwag missed a couple of games at the start due to back trouble, while Mahela Jayawardene, Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan were coming into the season after injury lay-offs.

The sight of key players scratching around for runs and wickets didn't do much for their confidence. Morne Morkel struggled for form and the South African ended up with a bowling average of 47.85, the worst among bowlers (a minimum of 10 innings) in the league stage of the IPL. Umesh Yadav finished as the highest wicket-taker for Daredevils but also conceded 508 runs, the first bowler in the history of IPL to concede 500 runs in a single season.

Their batting woes were just as exhaustive. The younger batsmen found themselves under pressure after Sehwag and Jayawardene failed to get going and, apart from the occasional knock from Unmukt Chand and Warner, a collective failure took the wheels off their campaign.

Daredevils may also have under-utilised their foreign signings in Johan Botha, Roelof van der Merwe and Ben Rohrer.

Best player
In the previous season, David Warner blasted 256 runs in eight matches. This season, by his T20 standards, was a sedate one. With 410 runs in 16 matches at an average of 31.53, Warner was easily the best of the Daredevils' batsmen in spite of his own up-and-down form. He was expected to get Daredevils off to roaring starts but as they suffered loss after loss, he was bumped down to the middle order where he scored more than half his runs.

Poor performer
Having led the team since the Champions League T20 last year, after Virender Sehwag stepped down, Mahela Jayawardene was expected to guide the side through to the playoffs, at least. Things, however, went quite wrong for him as a batsman and a captain. An injury during a first-class game forced him out of Sri Lanka's series against Bangladesh, meaning he came into this tournament cold. He went on to score 331 at an average of 22.06, his runs coming at a poor strike rate of 105. 75. He also struggled as a captain, failing to inspire his team as they stumbled from one loss to another.

Surprise package
Before this season, left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem had played 17 matches for Delhi Daredevils in two years. This time, Nadeem and another young left-arm spinner, Pawan Negi, were the only specialist spinners in a squad filled with part-timers and allrounders. The highest wicket-taker for Jharkhand in the 2012-13 Ranji Trophy, Nadeem carried his form into the IPL. Playing 12 out of Daredevils' 16 games, he picked up nine wickets at 28.77 (the average being second only to the experienced Ashish Nehra among the Daredevils bowlers who played 10 or more games) and kept the runs in check to finish with an economy rate of 5.88 - the best for the team.

Recommended for retention
David Warner

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Priyavrat96 on May 24, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    Delhi Daredevils should retain Sehwag,Warner,Pietersen,Yadav for next ipl and they should buy players like yuvraj,B.mccullum,sangakkara etc.

  • dummy4fb on May 21, 2013, 18:41 GMT

    Whichever team giving undue importance for the forign players will be go down.DD never looking for local talents i would reccomend two Delhi players Milind Kumar who scored a good 70 odd runs against England team and Varunsood the leg spinner but DD management ignored both of them, Manan sharma , son of Ajay sharma was another local talent they ignored then Yogesh Nagar and Naman Ohja played some critical innings inthe last season were completely ignored!Botha is not a good batsman, not a good bowler still getting lot of matches, instead they should go for David Wissae of SA

  • ROXSPORT on May 21, 2013, 16:16 GMT

    I would recommend Shahbaz Nadeem for retention as well. Any bowler finishing with an economy of less than 6 runs/over should be an automatic choice for retention, forget about the wickets.

  • sonu77 on May 21, 2013, 13:34 GMT

    Blaming Mahela for everything is totally unfair. Every foreign captain will struggle when you have a non performing big local star in their squad.Pune is the best example.Yes, Mahela not performed up to his standards but he wasn't the main reason for Delhi's dismal show.Entire team were out of form ! It proved when Warner leading the side there wasn't any difference.

  • ana_ibrahim on May 21, 2013, 7:27 GMT

    No one is realizing there is a complete failure of Srilankan Players, apart from Malinga,... Franchises and Srilankan Board should should do soul reasearching what went wrong. I think Sri Lankan cricket is struggling no new star players are coming up and old ones are fading way.

  • vbthegr8 on May 21, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    Delhi should retain warner and yadav..i think yadav has great potential to be indias next big fast bowler, and is good at the death also! they should look to buy a few good,experienced explosive batsmen who can be good fielders and captains too like BMccullam, RT Doeschate , Dilshan....They should also look at more young Indian batsmen to fit into the squad ..and also good fast bowling all rounders like bresnan and starc!

  • dummy4fb on May 21, 2013, 6:07 GMT

    Poor season for DD. While it is heartbreaking for us fans and team supporters. it can happen. Looking to next season and auction before that, I think we should retain, Warner, KP and Morkel from overseas players. From indian side we should keep Pathan, Ojha, Nadeem and Chand. I am really sad to see that Ojha wasnt given a chance despite his excellent showing in past seasons. He can aggressive and opens well, apart from being a good keeper.

  • aditya.continous on May 21, 2013, 5:39 GMT

    i think delhi suffered primarily coz of the absense of kevin and jesse and with taylor swapped to pune...i think the morale of the team took a dive for the worst...they started believing they cnt do it this season...add to that, the horrible start to the ipl, must have confirmed their worst fears that something this season is conspiring against them...next year's auction will give a chance to delhi to build the team all over again...the reason y they've ended 9th twice in last three years is coz they messed up at the big 2011 auctions...should they do the same again, agony for daredevils fans would continue till eternity...

  • dummy4fb on May 21, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    I don't think only Mahela is to blaim here. This is IPL. Mahela can't do anything without the approval of other staff, owners, etc. And Mahela batted better than Sanga did. What went wrong was team selection for DD. We all know other decisions matter too in selecting them. When Mahela was SL captain he would never select such sub-standard teams. Indians have high hopes for Unmukt Chand. That's why he was given an extended run at the top. Main reason for loosing first couple of matches for DD. And Other indian bowlers are not that talented. Pathan, Yadav gives sixers for opposition at will. There's only four overseas players allowed in the team. If a team need to win other indian 7 should perform just like SRH. Mishra,samantray,reddy,vihari played well. And they have quality allrounders in Sammy and Thisara. Who is there as a good alrounder in DD? none!