Daredevils aiming to trip high-flying Warriors for first win

Daredevils aiming to trip high-flying Warriors for first win

The Daredevils, led by swashbuckling opener Virender Sehwag, need to get their act together after two straight losses to Mumbai Indians at home and Rajasthan Royals at Jaipur to score their first points in the Twenty20 event.

Fielding more or less the same eleven in the first two games, Delhi have been thrashed by eight and six wickets respectively after failing to put up a competitive total and it is in this department that they would like to turn things around immediately.

For this to happen, their top-heavy line-up needs to fire strongly and none more than Sehwag who has tallied 23 runs in the first two matches. He needs to bat for most number of overs for the Daredevils to set a challenging score or chase a stiff target.

The only batsmen to show some sort of form have been diminutive opener David Warner, unheralded wicket-keeper batsman Naman Ojha and Venugopal Rao.

The twin failures of Sehwag have cost the team dear and the Warriors bowlers know that by dismissing the dasher cheaply they can put enormous pressure on the rest of the batting line-up.

In bowling too, Ashok Dinda seems a lightweight proposition to open it with the gangling South African Morne Morkel and it would be a huge surprise if 21-year-old Varun Aaron, considered among the fastest bowlers in the country, is again benched.

Unmukt Chand and Aaron Finch have also not utilised their chances in batting and could give way to some others. Table toppers Pune, on the other hand, are sitting pretty after winning both their first two home games – the only unbeaten side so far in the tournament - with a measure of comfort.

The bowlers, especially, have delivered the goods by restricting rivals Kings XI Punjab and Kochi Tuskers Kerala to below 150. If Alphonso Thomas and Shrikant Wagh got among the wickets in the opening tie against Kings XI, South African Wayne Parnell joined the fun in the second match against the Tuskers with a superb initial burst.

But they, as well as skipper Yuvraj Singh, know that in Sehwag and Warner, Delhi have two explosive openers who could take the game away in no time. The bowling needs to be as straight as possible in the first six overs of Power Play.

In batting, opener Graeme Smith got injured in the last tie and it remains to be seen whether he has regained full fitness along with the man he collided with badly on the field while going for a high catch, teammate Rahul Sharma.

South African Smith has not really fired, but his absence would be felt, while New Zealander Jesse Ryder brings a lot to the table as a punishing opener and useful medium pacer.

In Robin Uthappa and Yuvraj, the team has two batsmen who can cart the bowlers around outside the field restriction period of play. The surprise packet in the last game against the Tuskers was little known domestic journeyman Mohnish Mishra who hit cleanly to notch up a vital 37 not out in 21 balls and gain victory for his team.

Delhi have a difficult task to restrict this strong batting line-up even on a track that has been helpful to the fast bowlers all of which make Pune clear favourites to notch their third win in-a-row.

The rival teams (from):
Pune Warriors: Yuvraj Singh (capt), Robin Uthappa (wk), Murali Kartik, Abhishek Jhunjhunwala, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Deeraj Jadhav, Eklavya Dwivedi, Ganesh Gaikwad, Harpreet Singh Bhatia, Harshad Khadiwale, Kamran Khan, Mithun Manhas, Mohnish Mishra, Rahul Sharma, Sachin Rana, Shrikant Wagh, Shrikant Mundhe, Imtiyaz Ahmed, Graeme Smith, Jesse Ryder, Wayne Parnell, Alphonso Thomas. Tim Paine, Callum Ferguson, Mitchell Marsh, Jerome Taylor.
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (capt.), Irfan Pathan, Naman Ojha, Ajit Agarkar, Ashok Dinda, Umesh Yadav, Venugopal Rao, Aavishkar Salvi, Prashant Naik, Rajesh Pawar, Robin Bist, S Sriram, Tejaswi Yadav, Unmukh Chand, Varun Aaron, Vikas Mishra, Vivek Yadav, Yogesh Nagar, Shahbaz Nadeem, David Warner, James Hopes, Morne Morkel, Aaron Finch, Mathew Wade, Roelof van der Merwe, Andrew McDonald, Travis Birt, Colin Ingram, Robert Frylick.

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