In a match involving the best team and the team standing last on the leader board, quite often there is a possibility of an upset. However, on May 19 at the Feroz Shah Kotla in Delhi there was no such inspiration for the Delhi Daredevils, who slumped to yet another loss against Kings XI Punjab after being in a position of strength in certain parts of a match.
Team composition: Punjab made just a solitary change from the last game against Hyderabad. They left out Mitchell Johnson and gave Beuran Hendricks his first IPL cap. Delhi made 4 changes from the team that lost against Rajasthan. They left out Ross Taylor, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddharth Kaul and Rahul Shukla and brought back Murali Vijay, Mohammad Shami, Wayne Parnell and Jaydev Unadkat.
Batting: Kings XI won the toss and opted to field first. The Daredevils got to a very competitive total of 164 for 7 in their allotted 20 overs. Dinesh Karthik scored the highest, with 69 from 44 balls, and Kevin Pietersen assisted him well with 49 from 32 balls. However, none of the remaining batsmen were able to get going and this meant that the team ended up with a score that was lower than what they would have got otherwise.
Chasing a gettable total, the Kings XI got home with 4 wickets and 2 balls to spare, thanks largely to the efforts of Manan Vohra (42 from 19 balls) atop the order, and Akshar Patel (42 from 35 balls). Virender Sehwag (23 from 22 balls) also made an important contribution to help his team’s cause.
Bowling: Newcomer Hendricks (3 for 36) and Sandeep Sharma (3 for 35) claimed the maximum wickets for KXIP, but Akshar Patel was the best bowler in terms of economy, with a controlled spell of 1 for 18 in 4 overs. Rishi Dhawan (none for 42) and Shivam Sharma (none for 32) were expensive, however.
For DD, Imran Tahir was easily the best bowler with 3 for 22 in 4 overs, and he received some admirable support from JP Duminy, who took 2 for 27 in his 4 overs. Shami picked up a wicket but conceded 39 runs in 4 overs. Unadkat gave away 31 runs in 4 overs without any success, and Parnell was punished for 42 runs in 3.4 overs.
Where do the teams go from here?
The Kings XI Punjab has established a pattern to its play – win the toss, field first and then race to the target. This is an attitude that is laced with danger as it increases the dependence on a couple of players to perform more often. In this game the two Ms failed and it put a lot of pressure on the remaining batting order. The policy of having only 4 specialist bowlers plus an allrounder is also fraught with risks. Perhaps the team either needs to play a specialist bowler, preferably a quick bowler, or ask Maxwell to bowl more often. That should address the issues of balance in their side.
The Delhi Daredevils have been unable to find their feet in every sense of the word – the players they had picked with great expectations were unable to perform and there are not many options within the squad who can be expected to turn the tables in the remaining couple of games.