Delhi Daredevils v/s Mumbai Indians
April 21st, 2013
Ferozshah Kotla, Delhi
DD- Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss, Loss,
MI- Loss, Win, Win, Win, Loss.
Ricky Ponting’s Mumbai Indians take on Anonymous’ Delhi Daredevils in a repeat of the Wankhede match a few weeks ago- where Dinesh Karthik and Rohit Sharma destroyed the Daredevils side with the highest total in this season.
Both these teams come into this game after heavy losses- and though that is not a new occurrence for the beleaguered Daredevils side, Mumbai Indians will have to answer a lot of questions due to their stubborn reluctance to stick to the Pondulkar combination at the top. The one time Karthik didn’t go the full hog and Sharma failed, their batting got exposed badly against the Royals and that was that.
This is an important game for both teams. One has a feeling that another loss for Delhi will send them into unattainable depths of oblivion, and another loss for Mumbai will set the panic alarms ringing.
6 games, 6 losses. The Daredevils haven’t been the worst team, surprisingly, but have still managed to go on the longest winless season-beginning streak. There is surely no way back from here, and they can only play spoiler for the better teams from here on. Their heavy defeat to the SuperKings (86 runs) in their last game only proves that there will be no miraculous turnaround for a team already rockbottom in confidence and depth. No Morkel, Yadav or Sehwag can rescue them in 2013, but if there is any justice, they will win their first game sooner or later. Warriors have been a team that has played worse cricket, but still managed to pull off 2 upset wins over strong teams. Delhi have never won the crucial moments, and Jadhav’s wicketkeeping error on the last ball against the Challengers before the Super Over will haunt them for a long time. It could have been the turning point in their season.
X-Factor: David Warner. Warner is now 0-10 in India this year, second only to Pune’s 0-13 streak before they finally beat the Royals last week. He has blown hot and cold, but looked in astounding form when the league began, almost stealing the game from Mumbai Indians before holing out. He is still Delhi’s best chance of setting a huge target, with Sehwag well into his pension days.
There will be a buzz surrounding the squad, with only a few days left for Tendulkar’s 40th birthday. And that has been the problem of this team for 5 seasons now. Tendulkar’s shortcomings at the top can never be spoken publicly in this format, and Ponting’s addition has only exposed Tendulkar more. Apart from Ponting’s leadership, he is doing nothing with the bat whatsoever, and another loss could put his place in question.
Luckily for them, they face a side that has already imploded. Unfortunately, they won’t face Delhi again all season after this- and will face tougher tests from strong sides like Sunrisers (yes, strong) and Kings XI (whose Aussie captain faces the same problem). Malinga hasn’t hit his stride yet, and he doesn’t look like he will- with Johnson taking over the lead in style. Rohit Sharma will need to be more consistent- with 3 single digit scores and 2 fifties till now, with Karthik looking like a one-man machine right now.
Reaching for a polar star
X-Factor: Kieron Pollard. The tall West Indian T20 specialist is already proving his worth yet again, but is receiving little support on the fielding/bowling front from the rest of his colleagues. He must forget the almighty failure against the Royals, and move on, in order to get back to destructive ways. Delhi will be perfect for him.
It is only a matter of time. Surely. Home advantage has to count for something. Sehwag or Warner, one of them, will fire. And Delhi could just get their first win of 2013. It could be one of their three eventual wins in this entire tournament.