New Delhi: Down in the dumps after three consecutive heavy defeats, a beleaguered Delhi Daredevils has no option but to win all their remaining games, starting with the tie against Sunrisers Hyderabad here on Saturday to salvage any hope of qualifying for the play-offs of IPL-7.
With just two wins out of eight games, the Daredevils are languishing at the bottom of the points table and only a miracle performance from here on can seal their place in the knock-out stages of the T20 event.
For Daredevils, it turned out to be a nightmarish return to home as they are yet to register a win out of three matches at the capital`s Feroze Shah Kotla ground. The Delhi outfit`s only two wins so far this season came in the UAE leg of the tournament.
But what has hurt Daredevils badly was the result of their last three encounters at home turf. The Daredevils lost by seven wickets to Rajasthan Royals in their first home match before slumping to identical eight-wicket defeats against Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders. Psychologically, Daredevils are at their lowest ebb and would be hoping for something extraordinary to turn their fortunes around.
While Delhi`s batting has been inconsistent in the tournament so far, the patchy and unimpressive performance of the bowlers -- Mohammad Shami, Wayne Parnell, Siddharth Kaul and Shahbaz Nadeem -- did not help the side`s cause either.
The poor form of their star player and captain Kevin Pietersen has added to Delhi`s misery. Pietersen has just managed 62 runs from five innings which is way below the mark. Going by his standards, it was definitely not the start Gary Kirsten would have expected from his first coaching assignment with any IPL side.
Belief is something which seems to be missing in Delhi players, who would be looking for inspiration from some quarters to avenge upon their loss against Sunrisers in their previous outing this year.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), on the other hand, will be a more confident lot going into the match, especially after the morale-boosting 32-run win over Rajasthan Royals which kept them afloat in the top-four race. Sunrisers now find themselves in the fifth spot with three wins from seven games.
Just like Daredevils, Sunrisers batting too has been inconsistent - an example of which was visible in their previous match, against Rajasthan as the Shikhar Dhawan-led side could only muster 134 runs for nine in their allotted 20 overs. But the bowlers came to Sunrisers rescue as led by young Bhuvneshwar Kumar (4/14) the Hyderabad side bowled out Rajasthan for a paltry 102.
Bhuvneshwar`s senior pace colleague Dale Steyn (2/33) took two wickets while Karn Sharma, Moises Henriques and Irfan Pathan scalped wicket apiece in a collective bowling effort to ensure the win for Sunrisers. But it is skipper Dhawan who will need to lead from the front in the batting department.
A good start is of paramount importance in this form of the game, and Dhawan knows it too well. He has the aggressive Aaron Finch for company and if the duo gets going, it will be ominous for the opposition.Then there is in-form David Warner who lends muscle to the middle-order, with all-rounder Darren Sammy following him.
Delhi Daredevils: Kevin Pietersen (C), Mayank Agarwal, N Coulter-Nile, Q de Kock, JP Duminy, Kedar Jadhav, Dinesh Karthik, S Kaul, Milind Kumar, Mohammed Shami, S Nadeem, J Neesham, W Parnell, HS Sharath, R Sharma, LR Shukla, R Shukla, R Taylor, Manoj Tiwary, S Tiwary, JD Unadkat, M Vijay and J Yadav.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Dale Steyn, David Warner, Darren Sammy, Amit Mishra, Aaron Finch, Irfan Pathan, Ishant Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Brendan Taylor, Moises Henriques, Venugopala Rao, Jason Holder, S Aniruddha, Manprit Juneja, KL Rahul, Amit Paunikar, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Ashish Reddy, Chama Milind, Parveez Rasool, Prashanth Parameshwaran, Karn Sharma.