IPL 2014: Fresh start but similar end for Delhi Daredevils
When Delhi decided not to retain any of their players ahead of the IPL 7 auction, it was expected that they would buy some key players with the heavy purse. Considering that they ended up being at the bottom of the points table last year, the team management wanted to make a fresh start to the season. They looked determined to do well, as a result of which they got a maverick skipper in Kevin Pietersen and a world class coach in Gary Kirsten.
But while other teams seemed to have done their home work before the auction, Delhi looked clueless and bought big names without considering their form. Teams like Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals bought talented uncapped players, while Delhi focused more on signing international players. They once again had to pay for it, as they lost nine consecutive matches and were back to the bottom for yet another season.
In the batting department, Delhi had decent batsmen in Quinton de Kock, Murali Vijay, Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik, JP Duminy. Even though Kedar Jadhav and Manoj Tiwary didn’t have much international exposure, their potential was hidden from none.
The problem with the Daredevils was their failure to deliver as a unit. They were always deprived of a solid start, and even though Karthik played a few good knocks, he lacked the consistency he had shown while representing the Mumbai Indians last year. A lot was expected from Pietersen, but by the time he got going, Delhi were ruled out of the play-offs.
While the inconsistency in the batting department hurt them badly, the team management failed to take the best out of their batsmen. In the initial phases of the tournament, Duminy looked like their most in-form batsman, but in most of the matches, he wasn’t given much time to go for his strokes. In a few matches where Delhi desperately needed some quick runs, surprisingly, Laxmi Ratan Shukla was promoted ahead of Duminy and Jadhav.
Another reason why the Daredevils struggled throughout the season was the absence of genuine all-rounders. They play a significant role in this format and it was surprising to see Delhi not picking any renowned all-rounder. Jimmy Neesham was the only one chosen in the squad and expectedly, the Kiwi at any stage of the tournament didn’t look like a threat as a result of which he appeared in just four matches.
In the bowling department, the failure of Mohammed Shami is something which only added to their woes. Shami, the spearhead of the Indian bowling attack for quite some time now, looked like a mediocre bowler right throughout the series. Forget swing, the speedster struggled to get his line and length right.
Imran Tahir was a formidable inclusion into the side, but again, by the time he was signed by the franchise, the tournament was over for the Daredevils.
It was another disappointing end for the Daredevils and it was surprising to see their inability to come up with tactical decisions, despite having a coach in Gary Kirsten. Their ranking doesn’t do justice with the squad which they have and their think tank will have to work really hard for a better show next year.