Dark Horses: A Saga

Match# 7: Rajasthan Royals v/s Delhi Daredevils

Form Guide– RR- Win, DD- Loss,


Besides the alliterative ring they share to their respective names, these two teams do not share much else- atleast on current form. When the two teams met for the first match of the FIRST edition 3 years ago, favourites Delhi had decimated a weak-looking Rajasthan outfit by 9 wickets.

We all know how that season ended. Rajasthan refused to lose for 9 games after that. Winning the trophy was, of course, just a footnote.

Things look very, very different now.

One game may not be enough to bring out the crystal ball, but one need not be blessed with a certain colorful Sardar’s trivia-filled grey matter (or is it pink?) to figure out that this season may not be too promising for the Daredevils. That these grown men still wake up in the middle of the night aching to be cuddled and soothed after what transpired a few days ago against the Mumbai Indians- will not help matters either.

Lasith Malinga is probably the most feared man in Delhi right now, but the batsmen, who are definitely fresh victims of an identity crisis, must move on. Easier said than done- especially when most of the imported Daredevils from previous editions have decided to familiarize their tastebuds with South Indian cuisine instead.

This time, the Daredevils are faced with an equally formidable opposition- albeit with lesser known players. The Royals may seem like a breath of fresh air to them, but when you face a team headed by a Blond Australian Superstar who has consistently defied the laws of nature in more ways than one (Age, what age?)- you can be forgiven for wondering if the next few days (and nights) for the Delhi batters might be a bit of a haze- and this time their nightmares might consistently include atleast one spinner and soft medium pacers bowling fireballs on fiery Rajasthani desert dunes.

Rajasthan Royals: (Winners- 2008)

The Royals will look to cash in on a rare good start to the tournament for them, and momentum is something they thrive on. Shane Warne has just converted South Africa’s best spin bowler into a lethal batsman, and his captaincy will never cease to surprise us. Also, he can unearth hidden domestic Indian treasures quicker than Kris Srikkanth says ‘Yenna Rascala!’ (Asnodkar, Jadeja, Kamran Khan, Naman Ojha…okay maybe not Jadeja.)

Ask the parents of each bowler who was decimated by an unknown entity called Yusuf Pathan in the first two seasons.

Player to watch out for: Siddharth Trivedi. Warnie swears by him- especially after a peach of a spell that took the charge out of Deccan. And if Johan Botha does not spin you out, he will now bat you out.

Things look ominous for opposition teams- because Shane Watson is yet to arrive. And Shaun Tait has retired from all other forms of cricket except…the IPL. And he is yet to bowl!

Delhi Daredevils: (Semi finalists- 2008, 2009)

The Daredevils were destroyed by the Slinga in 3.3 overs of toe-crushers on Sunday, but they will look to put that right with Sehwag leading from the front. Sehwag ki Maa will need to bless all his batters with generous dollops of Desi Ghee just to drain back their physical strength. We’re not even talking about mental strength yet. Irfan Pathan needs to justify his 2 million tag, and Naman Ojha will need to control his emotions when he faces his ex-team. (We all know about that ex effect, it’s tough.)

Player to watch out for: Varun Aaron. The much-talked-about young Jharkand quickie might finally get a look-in for this game. ‘Indian tearaway’ is a rare term nowadays and that will only add to the hype around him. He bowls at 150 kmph consistently and is a product of the Australian Centre of Excellence (Forgive us for hoping now!) Also, forgive any cynical Indian mind that inevitably thinks, ‘But then that was what Munaf Patel said too.’

David Warner resembles a time-bomb aching to explode. It is only a matter of time. Delhi desperately needs him to fire…apart from Sehwag…and maybe their 4 other specialist batsmen. Bigtime.

Prediction: No surprises. A Royal win- Simply because they look like a professional balanced outfit under their coach cum captain cum trainer cum selector cum mentor cum father figure cum…er, Shane Warne.

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