Opportunity for Delhi to consolidate

Opportunity for Delhi to consolidate

Opportunity for Delhi to consolidate

Not many had given Delhi Daredevils a chance in this edition of the IPL as well, but it appears that the side is eager to belie the common sentiment.

Conjuring two wins in two matches, Daredevils are picking up steam and face an excellent opportunity of strengthening their campaign with three back-to-back matches on the home stretch, beginning with the clash against Mumbai Indians on Saturday.

Daredevils, following their nine-wicket loss to Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match, had triggered memories of their woeful past three seasons. But their two wins over Kings XI Punjab (eight wickets) and Royal Challengers Bangalore (seven wickets) in three outings have swiftly changed opinions and the points table. Mumbai Indians, on the other hand, have put up an erratic show to garner two wins from their five matches.

For Daredevils, their batting performance has been uplifted by the irrepressible form of Quinton De Kock. The young South African wicket-keeper-batsman, who didn’t get many matches last season, is lapping up runs with urgency at his preferred opening slot. His blistering knocks have set the tone of Daredevils’ chase, be it a meagre target against Kings XI where he scored an unbeaten 42-ball 53 or his 51-ball 108 against RCB that made him the first centurion of this edition and made the 192-run target look small on a flat Bangalore deck.

His form would be crucial for Daredevils as they gear up for the second home match against Mumbai. While fellow opener Shreyas Iyer hasn't quite got going, Karun Nair hitting form with an unbeaten 42-ball 54 on his home ground was heartening. The middle-order, which has looked a bit weak, could get a fillip if Nair, JP Duminy and Carlos Brathwaite get going.
If batting has shown character, the Daredevils’ bowling has been a standout feature. Leg-spinner Amit Mishra had plotted the Kings XI downfall with his 4-11 while captain Zaheer Khan and Chris Morris had impressed with their spells. But it was the return of Mohammad Shami, who was playing his first IPL match since May 2014 and his fifth competitive match since the 2015 World Cup, that turned out to be the best part of Daredevils’ outing against RCB. Despite going for runs in his initial overs, Shami fought back brilliantly in the third spell to end up with figures of 4-0-34-2.

Important win

Much like Daredevils, Mumbai Indians are also returning after a win over RCB. Their six-wicket victory on home ground revived their sinking campaign.  Rohit Sharma, returning to his favoured opening slot, has shown how much the Mumbai batting revolves around him. Their middle-order looks stronger than Daredevils, lined-up with the likes of Jos Buttler and Kieron Pollard.

Mumbai’s bowling has been their strongest aspect with Black Caps’ Tim Southee and Mitchell McClenaghan opening the attack with young Jasprit Bumrah complimenting them with his yorkers. However, it was Krunal Pandya who drew special praise from his captain Rohit following his contribution with both bat and ball. Harbhajan Singh brings the spin flavour. The defending champions carry with them a high profile entourage and it is time they matched their hype.

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