It is difficult to fathom what’s wrong with Delhi Daredevils. They have three of the best batsmen in the IPL in the form of David Warner, Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene. Even in the bowling department, they have the likes of Morne Morkel, Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav, each one of whom is seasoned campaigner. Yet, they have now lost six out of six matches, and remain the only team in the tournament to have not won a single match in this year’s IPL. It doesn’t reflect the true potential of the side for sure.
On Thursday, against Chennai Super Kings, at the Feroz Shah Kotla, they once again ended up second best, and by a fair distance. The failure of their batters was once again the key reason for their downfall. The trio of Warner, Sehwag and skipper Jayawardene, of whom so much was expected at the start of the series, have looked completely out of sorts, and the results have reflected in the points table. The bigger worry for Delhi is that they do not have good enough players to replace the struggling trio, which is why the absence of Kevin Pietersen is being felt even more.
The struggles of the top five in the batting order against Chennai told a pathetic tale of Delhi’s continuous slide. Chasing a highly competitive score, Delhi had lost half their side by the halfway mark of their innings, and from that point, there was no way back for Delhi. To be blunt, their chances had disappeared as soon as came into bat, since none of their batsmen were in form, and, more significantly, none was willing to stick around to try and engineer the chase. At the same time, praise must be showered upon the Chennai bowlers, for always keeping Delhi under the pump.
Earlier in the day, Chennai came up with a very mature batting performance. They began slowly, with the openers scoring at a run a ball. And while Murali Vijay did not convert his start into a major score, Mike Hussey brought all his experience into play, and pieced together the perfect T20 knock. Once he got his eye in, Hussey ensured that he stayed at the crease right till the very end. At the same time, he also saw to it that the run rate was continuously on the upward curve.
While Hussey’s knock was crucial in Chennai laying a solid platform, it was skipper MS Dhoni’s innings that proved to be the difference between a competitive and a match-winning score. Dhoni’s knock, which came at a strike rate of close to 200, was encompassed with his trademark strokes; the Delhi bowlers had no answer to the Indian’s captain’s brilliance. Delhi’s bowling wasn’t of the top order either. Morne Morkel, in particular, was disappointing even as the others were only a little less economical, but equally ineffective. All that can be said about Delhi’s state of affairs is that time is soon running out for them.
Turning point of the game:Warner’s dismissal for 1. Chasing a big score, Delhi needed him to perform, but he failed the side yet again.
--By A Cricket Analyst