Daredevils face confident Chennai

Daredevils face confident Chennai

 Few teams would have been haunted by their home ground like Delhi Daredevils at Ferozeshah Kotla last year. The team managed just one win here and would be keen to reverse the trend when it plays defending champions Chennai Super Kings in their first home match on Tuesday.

Delhi Daredevils’ Kevin Pietersen during a training session in New Delhi on Monday. AP

Kotla’s capricious behavior hit the headlines even before the start of this year’s Indian Premier League, with the teams participating in the Vijay Hazare Trophy slamming the two-paced strip for producing one-sided contests.

Daredevils, however, have been keeping a brave face with new head coach Eric Simons asking his bowlers to learn to bowl at their home ground and turning Kotla into their “fortress.” Daredevils had mustered only four wins out of 14 matches during the previous edition.

As if continuing from last year, rain greeted them in their first match against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens but the Daredevils, led by Irfan Pathan’s unbeaten 42, notched up a comfortable eight wickets victory to welcome the new IPL season.

UmeshYadav has also been recovered from cramps that he suffered during the match against RCB. 

However, their 20-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore evened out things. The team still can take a few positives from the match, with young Doug Bracewell impressing with his three wickets and Morkel once again proving to be a reliable import. The team has also been bolstered by the presence of star batsmen Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene, who joined the team on Sunday. In bowling, Pathan will have to deliver. Bracewell and Morkel will once again be crucial to Daredevils fortunes against Super Kings, which boasts a bevy of world-class batsmen.

The two-time champions’ salvaged some pride after their eight-wicket lost to Mumbai Indians on their home turf. They bounced back with vengeance against Deccan Chargers, inflicting a 74-run defeat. Ravindra Jadeja shone with his career-best performance in Twenty 20, a five-wicket haul (5-16) besides plundering 48 runs off 29 balls. The match also saw a brief fireworks from  Dwayne Bravo, who hammered fives sixes during his 18-ball 43.

The Mahendra Singh Dhoni led outfit has an equally enviable attack in Albie Morkel, Dough Bollinger and off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin,  all being capable of exploiting the conditions here. But it will boil down to how strongly Delhi bowlers can actually turn Kotla into their fortress.

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