Delhi Daredevils IPL 2014 review May 26, 2014

The revamp that changed nothing

After last year's drubbing, Delhi Daredevils opted for wholesale changes this season. It made little difference, though, as they floundered in every department and finished bottom of the table again

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Season review - Duminy, the only positive for Delhi Daredevils

Where they finished

Last, with two wins in 14 games.

What went right

Little went right for Delhi Daredevils this season. After their last-place finish in IPL 2013, they began 2014 on a shaky note. Their loss in the opening game to Royal Challengers Bangalore was their seventh successive one, but they picked up the pieces in the next match against Kolkata Knight Riders, winning by four wickets. Three matches later, they restricted Mumbai Indians to 125 for 6, their best bowling performance of the season, and went on to win by six wickets. That, however, would be their last win in IPL 2014 before another losing streak of nine matches - their third extended string of losses over the past two seasons and their worst in the IPL.

What went wrong

After last year's drubbing, where they finished in ninth place, change was the buzzword for Daredevils. They brought in Gary Kirsten as coach. They opted to not retain any of their players ahead of the auction, the only franchise to do so. Along with Royal Challengers Bangalore, they also spent their entire budget.

After the auction, the one thing that stood out about the Daredevils squad was how heavily batting-centric it was. James Neesham and Laxmi Shukla were their slotted allrounders but neither played a season entirely. Packing the side with batsmen also meant they could never quite hit on a combination that put batsmen in best-suited slots. Ross Taylor, for instance, is primarily a top-order batsman even in T20s but was played at No. 6 in three of the four games he played this season. JP Duminy and Kedar Jadhav were slotted in as finishers and batted low down despite being their best batsmen; Daredevils suffered as their best batsmen were denied significant batting time at the crease. It didn't help that opener M Vijay - who was picked up by Daredevils after being a regular performer for Chennai Super Kings over the seasons - was in woeful touch.

Their bowling was left considerably weakened by injuries, lack of form and the absence of a plan B. Nathan Coulter-Nile's departure due to injury left Daredevils' pace attack reliant on Wayne Parnell and Mohammed Shami and both couldn't step up. Their Indian pacers, Jaydev Unadkat and Rahul Shukla, had mediocre seasons. An average of 3.6 wickets per match is hardly the sign of a winning team. Near the end of the season, Eric Simons, the franchise's fast-bowling coach, admitted he had been using mats to train his bowlers to bowl to appropriate lengths - which they consistently missed.

The spinners didn't fare any better, evidenced from the fact that midway through the tournament, Duminy, a part-timer, was the best spinner. Shahbaz Nadeem flopped and Rahul Sharma was given just two games. Imran Tahir's late addition to the side barely made a ripple, in spite of his form in the World T20 that preceded the IPL.

Key stat

Delhi Daredevils were the worst bowling team of the tournament. They took the fewest wickets (51) at the worst average (41.47) at the highest strike rate (29.40) and had the most expensive economy rate (8.44). They did not bowl a single maiden over, and none of their bowlers claimed a four-wicket haul.

Best player

Undoubtedly, JP Duminy. Their only batsman to feature among the top 10 run-getters, he repeatedly had to step in either to stem a collapse or score quick runs when the side was almost out of time. In spite of that, he finished the season with 410 runs at an average of 51.25. Also, Duminy was the most economical of Daredevils' bowlers (apart from Coulter-Nile who exited early in the campaign), bowling his part-time offspinners in 11 games out of 14.

Poor performer

When you spend a third of your auction budget on two batsmen, high expectations are a part of the package. Unfortunately for Daredevils, Kevin Pietersen and Dinesh Karthik did not have much of an impact at all. While Karthik managed three fifties, he couldn't reproduce the consistency he showed for Mumbai Indians in the league stages of IPL 2013. Pietersen, playing in his first tournament as a free agent, missed a few games at the start due to injury and found semblance of form only towards the very end of the tournament when it was too late. His captaincy also left a lot to be desired.

Surprise package

Until 2014, Kedar Jadhav had had indifferent seasons with Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, including one last year where he scored 152 runs in 12 innings. This season, lifted by his form that helped him score six hundreds in the Ranji Trophy, Jadhav quickly settled into the niche of a finisher. In 10 innings, he scored 149 runs which came at a brisk strike rate of 147.52, the best among Daredevils' batsmen.

Memorable moment

One of the more forgettable aspects of IPL 2014 for Kevin Pietersen was his running between the wickets. In both matches against Rajasthan Royals, Pietersen escaped being run-out. In the first instance, the umpire Sanjay Hazare, shot down an appeal from Royals, a decision for which he was later stood down from the IPL. In the second game, Pietersen's bat was stuck in the turf and his foot was in the air when the ball hit the stumps. Royals, however, did not appeal for the run-out. The image of Daredevils' struggles was best captured, perhaps, by Manoj Tiwary's run-out against Kings XI Punjab in their last league game.

Unused players

Milind Kumar, HS Sharath and Jayant Yadav. Saurabh Tiwary was ruled out after the UAE leg due to a shoulder injury.

Rachna Shetty is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on May 28, 2014, 6:40 GMT

    They should have used H S Sharath, he had a great ranji season with karnataka and could have performed better than unadkat, rahul shukla and sidharth kaul. H S Sharath was in form, all karnataka players were in form, other teams who picked karnataka players in playing 11 found success with them.

  • David on May 28, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    "Imran Tahir's late addition to the side barely made a ripple, in spite of his form in the World T20 that preceded the IPL."

    Really? Tahir took 9 wickets in 6 matches. The only other Delhi bowler to take 9 was Unadkat - in 9 matches. Tahir has the leagues 3rd best strike rate (+ 8 overs,) & 7th best ave. He made ripples, but they unfortunately were obscured by the giant waves of inconsistency, mediocrity, and failure generated by the millionaires KP, Karthik and the coaching failure of Gary Kirsten.

  • Sriram on May 27, 2014, 13:24 GMT

    So start coaches doesnt mean top finish! KP has once agian shown why he is not a captain material especially in foreign conditions. M Vijay and DK wasted good oppurtunities to stake a claim. Shami was the bigget disappiointment and now a worry as he looked jaded and tired. What was Jadhav doing down the order when he could have been tried as opener in a game or two. No out of box thinking is what led them down.

  • Steve on May 27, 2014, 12:47 GMT

    KP may not have been the best captain, but no captain looks good in the field without bowlers of quality and control. His biggest mistake was to highlight his efforts by constantly changing fields and cajoling his hapless bowlers, who then failed to execute the plan and made KP look silly! Best example was second game against RR, who scored 200 at a canter against the worst bowling attack ever seen in the IPL. KP still ran around, encouraging and planning, only for another leg stump half volley to get hit for 6!

  • Dummy4 on May 27, 2014, 9:42 GMT

    Actually, the problem started right after during the first auction in 2011. DD should have retained players like Gambhir, Dilshan and AB and should have built the team around them. Remember that they did really well in the first three seasons, reaching the knock-off stages twice. But, poor selection strategy has lead to their downfall ever since then. Now they are the slaughter dogs of IPL, the Derby County if you would like.

  • Steve on May 27, 2014, 5:40 GMT

    Expected big things of DD this year. Ross Taylor was the most poorly used "big name" in the entire IPL (see above). Please release him and let him go to a team that will use him properly. JP Duminy was the one shining light from a foreign player perspective. KP performed okay as batsman but he is not a captain. Should have brought in a fast bowler instead of Tahir, not that he performed badly but wasn't what the team needed. Karthik and Jadhav performed well from an Indian perspective. De Kock and Neesham should have been given more time. What a shame this team was so poorly coached / managed, will be hard to support next year!

  • Dummy4 on May 26, 2014, 23:13 GMT

    "Daredevil's Revamp Fails"... What!? They were playing the number one team away from home with Miller, Maxwell, Bailey and Johnson and they (DD) only named mostly the right team anyway.... DD only started well versus Kings XI by winning the toss (no skill needed) and playing Neesham instead of Parnell (no, Neesham did not set the world on fire, but he has not played for aaaages and he did better than Duminy, Jadhav and Tiwary/Agarway and co.) as MI pick Corey, proving that you cannot judge someone on 3 games as some of those who failed vs. Kings XI have been our best players and no one is counting them out. They should have played Vijay and chosen BETWEEN one of Agarwal and Tiwary (give me Manoj on form), and then played R Shukla OR Nadeem.... they got right the deciding between De Kock and Tahir (always has to be one or the other) and played close to the right team the (DD). Anderson was trusted by Mumbai. Look how he came through for them when form had been bad. He's why MI got 4th.

  • Sam on May 26, 2014, 20:38 GMT

    1. I can't understand the concept of 'finisher' in T20 cricket. It's already the shortest form of cricket, then what's the finisher here ??? Duminy should have batted at 3 & Jadhav at 5. 2. Form of M Vijay was terrible. De Kock & R Taylor didn;t fire so as Neesham. 3. DD needs to have a good Indian core. 4. Their bowling was poor. They lacked a strike pacer. Shami failed big time, Unadkat was inconsistent so as R Shukla & Kaul. DD tried everything. 5. Nadeem wasn't great & Rahul Sharma suffered. Latter part at least DD had Tahir, he was good. 6. Coulter Nile is a big miss. He's someone who does everything bowl, field & also can hit with the bat. 7. For next season, I will release M Vijay & R Taylor. All the Indian bowlers need to be changed. DD also need some allrounders in their ranks.

  • niaz on May 26, 2014, 16:54 GMT

    Openning pair is so important. Even the top 3. If The other team is using a top bowler like Johnson or Styen or an indian seamer like BK, Mohit, if the openers can score against them, the opponent team already under pressure. One or two of the 5 bowler is usually weak. Sometimes teams bowl their 5th bowler (like Duminy) for a couple of overs. If you are weak against left arm spin (who is not?) and let Duminy the 5th bowler bowl a stingy spell, you are already behind and you have not faced the top bowlers yet.

  • niaz on May 26, 2014, 15:17 GMT

    They picked up De cock, Duminy and Peterson. Karthik and Jadhav. They made the mistake of not sending Duminy early. KP did not click early. QDK as well. They did not bowl Duminy in the middle overs. Their bowling is weak. They should have played Coulter-Nile, should have bowled Duminy. They just do not have good bowlers. Who would have known Sandeep, Mohit, Bumrah, Balazi, and a few other indian pacers would be better than Shami. They do not have any stringy leftarm spinner (Duminy?).. They actually do not have 5 players worth retaining (May be Karthik, Jadhav and Duminy).

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