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Curious case of Delhi's daredevils!
The Delhi fan knows his team can finally break the semis jinx.
By Chayan Rastogi

Ever since T20 format came into existence, it was termed as ‘Batsman’s Delight’ and ‘Bowler’s Nightmare’.
In a game where bat always held an ‘upper hand’ over the ball, suddenly the whole syllabus of so called ‘Cricket book’ got revolutionsed.

‘Reverse sweeps’ replaced conventional sweeps, ‘edges’ became ‘French Cuts’, horrible looking ‘scoops’ were cheered more than classic ‘cover-drives’ and ugly lofts became the most productive shots of the game.

It was this trend that most of the teams while bidding for players in IPL, opted for unconventional big-hitters rather than smart play-makers.

Delhi opted for players like David Warner, Tilakratne Dilshan, AB De Villiers, Parvez Mahroof etc who can clear the ball at will. Apart from these International players, Delhi also had desi blood of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.

Barring Gambhir and to some extent De Villiers, all batsmen in this top list know to bat only in one gear- the top gear! With Gambhir out with hamstring injury and AB doing poorly, Delhi have run out of batsman who can anchor the innings.

Batters like Viru, Warner and Dilshan loves to strike the ball hard but with IPL returning to Indian pitches where ball doesn’t come as quickly to the bat as these brutal-hitters like, suddenly the balance in the side has gone for a toss!

In attempt to gain momentum early, these batsmen go all guns blazing and more often than not, fail to give the team a good start.

Delhi’s middle order which comprises of all local talent except for Dinesh Karthik has looked susceptible against good bowling attack and fails to deliver punch when most required. The last match against Deccan Chargers where the team needed 16 of 12 balls with 5 wickets in hand and still lost says the sorry story!

In the bowling department except for Amit Mishra, no bowler has looked like containing batsman for runs, forget taking wickets. Dirk Nannes has been a poor shadow of his last year’s performance and the injury to Ashish Nehra and unavailability of Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori has hammered the bowling balance badly.

Delhi, who won its first two games of this IPL riding on individual brilliance of Gambhir and Sehwag respectively, has now lost 3 matches in a row.

The team who has featured in semi-finals of both previous editions of the tournament has all the potential to bounce-back strongly but seems to be suffering from low self-belief. This has also reflected on their ground fielding where fielders have grassed a few dolly and have failed to hit stumps when most required.

Although it is still early in the tournament but Daredevils has now to do a lot of catching-up to remain in the competition. They must be hoping for Gambhir and Nehra to return quickly to the side to strengthen their chances. In addition, they need to alter their batting strategy and has to infuse caution with their trademark aggression.

If Delhi Daredevils want to win trophy this year then perhaps the time has come when they need to change their slogan from “Khelo, front-foot pe” to “Khelo, thande dimaag se!”
 
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