Kevin Pietersen-led Delhi Daredevils unit have struggled for consistency in IPL 7 © PTI
By Devarchit Varma
May 4, 2014
Chennai Super Kings will aim to continue their winning momentum when they take on a struggling Delhi Daredevils outfit, in the 26th match of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 tournament, at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in New Delhi on Monday. MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings are in full flow, as they are sitting pretty at the top of the IPL 7 points table with five wins in six matches, whereas Kevin Pietersen’s Delhi are lagging behind at the second last in the table with only two wins in six matches so far in the tournament.
Delhi were one of the sides in IPL 2014 auction that went into a complete revamp process, doing away with some of the big names and non-performers. However, six matches into the IPL 2014, the franchise is finding itself in similar situations like the past wherein the big names have flopped and the side has been found wanting on more than one occasions.
The area where Delhi have struggled is in the bowling department, as they lack a spearhead. It has hurt their chances big time in this season of IPL. They may have exciting young talents such as Mohammed Shami and Shahbaz Nadeem in their ranks, but the absence of one bowler who can turn the tables around in a span of couple of deliveries is missing in their ranks.
Shami is young but he is far away from being the leader of the pace attack. The presence of Wayne Parnell and India’s Jaydev Unadkat too has not made much of difference for Delhi, and bowling is their biggest worry going into the game against an in-form Chennai Super Kings. A total of 152 is challenging enough, but they failed to contain the Rajasthan Royals’ batsmen and succumbed to their fourth loss in the tournament so far.
The poor form of their middle-order has been a worry. Apart from good performances by openers Quinton de Kock and Murali Vijay, and some brilliant late hitting by JP Duminy, Delhi has not found any other batsman who could help their cause. Pietersen has looked out of sorts so far in the tournament, and Delhi would hope that their captain gets going in order to provide them some much-needed momentum before it is too late.
On the other hand, table-topper Chennai have recovered well in the tournament and are in red-hot form. Despite the absence of some of their key players, Chennai have attained momentum in the tournament at the right time and with the tournament shifting to India, they would be looking to get more ruthless in their approach. They have found an excellent opening pair in Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith, and the presence of big hitters such as Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja lower down the order provides them opportunity to put up big scores.
The biggest discovery for Chennai this season has been the form of Mohit Sharma, who is currently the leading wicket-taker in the IPL 2014. He has 11 scalps to his name out of six matches, which speaks volumes about the impact made by the seamer on placid tracks in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and in India.
Delhi have indeed an uphill task ahead of them to get the better of a rampaging Chennai Super Kings’ side, and they will need all their departments to fire in order to keep them up and running.
Delhi Daredevils: Kevin Pietersen (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), JP Duminy, Ross Taylor, Mayank Agarwal, Murali Vijay, Manoj Tiwary, Saurabh Tiwary, Milind Kumar, Jimmy Neesham, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Rahul Shukla, Wayne Parnell, HS Sharath, Laxi Ratan Shukla, Kedar Jadhav, Siddharth Kaul, Rahul Sharma, Quinton de Kock, Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c & wk), Ravichandran Ashwin, Dwayne Bravo, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Francois du Plessis, Dwayne Smith, Brendon McCullum, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Ishwar Pandey, Ben Hilfenhaus, John Hastings, Samuel Badree, Matt Henry, Mithun Manhas, Vijay Shankar, Ronit More, Baba Aparajith, Pawan Negi.
Time: 20.00 IST| 02.30 GMT
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(Devarchit Varma is a reporter with CricketCountry. He can be followed on Twitter @Devarchit)