New Delhi: Four defeats in five games is certainly not a happy homecoming for DD. The demanding Gautam Gambhir would have expected a better campaign. But if Delhi have to make a turnaround this IPL, this is the game and this is the moment. For another loss would make things complicated and very difficult for them. DD will have their task cut out, whether or not they are left with any margin for error. The reason for Delhi misfiring could be talked down to the fact that they have failed to string performances in unison. There have been days when the bowling stood up and on other days, just the batting. But all is not lost yet and with Ferozeshah Kotla a proven hunting ground, Delhi should hope that they put together a team show.
For Punjab, the only worry or should I say a slight tension would be their bowling. Even though they have restricted teams to sub-par totals, their death bowling has put them in trouble. They have gone for runs and that is where Delhi could exploit their weakness. The hosts will be banking on Jason Roy, Gambhir and Rishabh Pant to lay a perfect platform. To challenge a muscle-heavy KXIP, with Chris Gayle proving to be the main cog in the Punjab wheel, Delhi should at least aim 190-200. With the Kotla wicket a batting friendly venue, they will still have to fight to claim a win.
Toss update: DD have the toss and elected to bowl against KXIP. A lot of surprise for the fans here as Chris Gayle is rested and David Miller comes in. Delhi have rested Chris Morris and Jason Roy due to niggles while Dan Christian and Liam Plunkett will play. Aaron Finch will open the innings for Punjab.
Without an iota of doubt, the Daredevils have been the least impressive of all teams in the past few seasons of the cash-rich extravaganza, only managing to finish at the bottom half of the pecking order.
In the last two seasons, the Daredevils ended their campaign at sixth position, were a place down in 2015 and finished last the year before, in 2014. The story has been similar in the ongoing edition as they struggle with fours reverses from five outings to occupy the last place.
They were done in by the versatile AB de Villiers' smashing knock last night and up next at the Feroz Shah Kotla, Daredevils will be up against the destructive Gayle, who has made a statement with two fifties and century, scoring those runs in his trademark style.
Thanks to Gayle's belligerence, Kings XI Punjab are firmly placed at the top of the order with four victories and a solitary defeat. Given the form they have shown in the previous encounters, Kings XI Punjab will fancy their chances to continue the momentum against an embattled Delhi Daredevils outfit.
Royal Challengers Bangalore chasing down a target of 175 with two overs to spare, is more of a reflection of Deredevils' poor team selection rather than helplessness.
To start with, they lost to Kings XI Punjab in their away game, were then subjected to a humiliating defeat by Kolkata Knight Riders, emerged second best against Rajasthan Royals under the Duckworth/Lewis method and faced another reverse at the Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Delhi Daredevils' only victory has come against Mumbai Indians when English opener Jason Roy and the dynamic Rishabh Pant fired. In fact, wicketkeeper Pant has been their best batsman this season with 223 runs from five games.
Returning to his home city franchise, skipper Gautam Gambhir would look to get his scoring touch back, after a hugely successful stint at Kolkata Knight Riders. So is the case with the big-hitting Australian Glenn Maxwell, while Shreyas Iyer, who scored a brisk half-century against RCB, would look to continue in the same vein.
Delhi's bowling has been an issue with Mohammed Shami off colour. Trent Boult had decent figures in all the matches but likes of Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammed Shami have flattered to deceive.
The logic of playing Vijay Shankar is still not clear as the team management is not able to send him up the order for lack of power in his shots. Even more baffling is the fact that he has not been called upon to bowl in four of the five games.
The task is certainly going to be difficult when up against Gayle and Co, with the Jamaican forming a deadly opening combination with K L Rahul. India discard Yuvraj Singh would hope to get some runs under his bat, too, even as KL Rahul is asserting himself as a potent opener in shortest format with two brisk half centuries.
And how can one discount the presence of Aaron Finch, who has the ability to destroy any bowling attack on his day. All-rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, along with Mohit Sharma, lends depth to the line-up, while the likes of Barinder Sran, Andrew Tye and Mujeeb ur Rahman shoulder the bowling responsibility.