New Delhi: Enduring an embarrassing run so far, Delhi Daredevils face the enormous task of presenting a decent challenge when they take on defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in an IPL encounter on Tuesday.
It will be extremely difficult for Daredevils to pick up the pieces from their 10-wicket drubbing against Kings XI Punjab after being shot out for their lowest ever IPL total of 67 runs.
Their bowlers have still managed to make an impression but the batsmen have let the side down with unending poor run.
Languishing at the bottom of the table with four points from eight games, facing an in-form team like Sunrisers (13 points from 10 games) will be a tough proposition especially with the kind of form opposition captain David Warner is in.
Except for the initial period, Daredevils have struggled badly and have only gone from bad to worse. It is turning out to be yet another nightmarish season for the hosts and compounding their misery is a hamstring injury to captain Zaheer Khan, forcing him to miss out on the last match against Kings XI Punjab.
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It is still now known if he will be able to make a come back and their England import Sam Billings is also leaving home to honour his international commitments. Even Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada are set to leave this week.
Expectations that a number of all-rounders will do the job for them in absence of quality top-order batsmen have fallen flat. They lack an inspirational leader and handing the reins of the team to out-of-form Karun Nair shows how bad the situation is for them.
On the other hand, the defending champions have gone from strength to strength and have a captain who is leading from the front.
On Sunday, the contrasting performances of the two sides tells the story. Daredevils were shot out for 67 and Hyderabad out on the board 209 for 3 against the most consistent and table-toppers Kolkata Knight Riders for a convincing 48-run win.
Hyderabad’s dominance was a result of an exceptional knock from captain Warner, who smashed 126 off 59 balls, punishing the KKR bowlers with 10 fours and eight sixes.
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Not only Warner (Current ‘Orange Cap’ holder with 459 runs) but New Zealand captain Kane Williamson has also been in great touch. He has been batting exceptionally well since joining the side.
Yuvraj Singh is due for a big score and if he also gets his touch back, it will make Hyderabad more dangerous.
Indian paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar (Current ‘Purple Cap’ holder with 20 wickets) has also been a a fantastic performer this season. His accuracy has been annoying batsmen from all rival teams.
Ashish Nehra is always an asset despite being an ageing star while Mohammed Siraj has also played a great support role with senior teammates.
All these factors make Hyderabad a side that makes them very competitive even for the most consistent sides–KKR and Mumbai Indians.
On the other side, lack of intent in Daredevils players has been very surprising. Only Chris Morris, Kagiso Rabada and Corey Anderson looked like taking the oppositions on.
The Indian players, save Amit Mishra, have fared poorly. Sanju Samson has failed to build on a good start when he hammered the first ton of the season. It will be miraculous if Daredevils improve. The good thing is that out of six remaining matches, they have five at home.
Let’s see if this home-stretch brings about a change in fortune for them.
Squads: Delhi Dardevils: Zaheer Khan(c), Angelo Mathews, Corey Anderson, Kagiso Rabada, Pat Cummins, Ankit Bawne, Aditya Tare, Murugan Ashwin, Navdeep Saini, Shashank Singh, Mohammed Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant, Chama Milind, Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh, Marlon Samuels.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, David Warner(c), Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Kane Williamson, Siddarth Kaul, Bipul Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh, Ben Cutting, Abhimanyu Mithun, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar, Chris Jordan, Mohammad Nabi, Eklavya Dwivedi, Rashid Khan, Pravin Tambe, Ben Laughlin, Tanmay Agarwal, Mohammed Siraj.
Match starts: 8pm. PTI