April 17th, 2013
Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi
DD- Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss,
CSK- Loss, Win, Win, Loss,
The wooden spooners take on 2-time Champions CSK in a contest that will have the cynics licking their lips. The Delhi Daredevils, the first team to ever lose their first 5 games of a season, are now on the verge of doing a Pune 2012- and we’re not even midway through the tournament.
Morne, the savior
Chennai SuperKings, everyone’s favorite to win yet another title, are going through the motions in their usual less-than-convincing start to a league they eventually own. While Delhi, under Jayawardene, will look to shatter new prolific losing records, the SuperKings will look to get their floundering campaign back on track.
They had no business of even taking their last game to a Super Over against the Royal Challengers. But then Kohli’s men have taken upon the responsibility of single-handedly making the tournament exciting this year, already having played two super overs- both of which they should have won in match play. The Daredevils’ keeper Jadhav will be ruing his decision of doing a Dhoni and taking off his right glove for the final ball- with his team just a fumble away from winning their first game of the league. After a superb comeback that had the Challengers collapsing with 24 needed of 4 overs, the Daredevils took it to the super over- with Umesh Yadav bowling an astounding first 4 balls to Gayle and AB, conceding only 3 runs. And then, brainfreeze.
‘I get to play CSK only once, boys…’
Two length balls. Two sixes. That was that. Ravi Rampaul then made sure that the daredevils stuck to the bottom, as they fell 5 short. Even with Sehwag back, Warner has decided to let go off his form- leaving it to the struggling middle order to form decent totals. And now, they take on a team that will be wounded from a painful defeat- intent on proving themselves once again.
X-factor: Morne Morkel. His battle with Gayle was the stuff of legends, rarely having bowled with such pace and intent over the last few seasons. He remains Delhi’s sole hope of dragging them to a few wins this year.
Not many expected CSK to go down to a mediocre Pune side at home, but they did just that. Dhoni’s men have never been consistent in the first half of the league stages, always succumbing to mega upsets that throw the league wide open- before escaping in a jailbreak towards the end. With performances poles apart in their first 4 games, they will be looking to find some sort of middle ground- with players like Vijay and Raina yet to prove themselves this season. If not for that unlikely Sir Jadeja-inspired win over Bangalore, the Super Kings would have just been a loss away from the bottom. This match, though, may have come at the right time for a champion team looking to pick themselves up, and begin firing on all cylinders.
When Sir lifts his bat, the ball freezes…
X-Factor: Suresh Raina. The southpaw, the most prolific run-getter in the history of the league, is yet to find his groove in the current season. With the openers remaining inconsistent, Raina has not made the most of his few chances- and will want to teach the Daredevils a lesson with the first century of 2013.
Prediction: CSK will come into their own, and destroy Delhi- unless Viru, Morkel and Yadav have other plans.