Preview: Battle of wooden spoon as Delhi take on Deccan

Without a bowling balance and without an all-rounder who can get going at crucial stages in a game, the Daredevils have been below-par. AFP

By Suneer Chowdhary

Hyderabad: May 4, 2011

These are two sides who have struggled in the competition through a variety of reasons and matters have come to such a head that the side losing this one can bid his chances of making it to the playoffs goodbye. Both, the Deccan Chargers and Delhi Daredevils are at the bottom of the pile with three wins from the nine games that they have played and a loss here will leave them with no option but to begin packing their bags.

Not that the side winning the game would have taken a step more towards the trophy. Far from it, in fact. Teams need at least seven to eight wins to go through to the next round and for that, the winning team may need to topple all their remaining opponents out of contention.

The Chargers have continued to make mistakes and to add to that, their middle-order has failed to get going. Winning the toss and deciding to field was uncalled for in the previous game and the ensuing collapse while chasing a clear sign of how much the side has struggled after a good start.

If it was Sunny Sohal in the Chennai game, Shikhar Dhawan cruised his way to a half-century in the previous game but none of Kumar Sangakkara or Cameron White got a move on. White s selection has been questioned and there is a good chance that he may get a break for this one, with Michael Lumb coming into the reckoning.

The Daredevils woes began from the day they decided to let go of the quality spinners during the auction. With Virender Sehwag taking time to get into his run-scoring self in the tournament, the wins have only come more recently and have been mightily dependent on his and Dave Warner s bat. Venugopal Rao s quick-scoring has tapered off and James Hopes non-selection is surprising to say the least.

Without a bowling balance and without an all-rounder who can get going at crucial stages in a game, the Daredevils have been below-par.

It wouldn t be too unfair to call this a battle for the wooden spoon, despite the mathematical probabilities of one of the two to go through to the next round still remaining.

Teams:

DD (Probable): Virender Sehwag (c), Dave Warner, Naman Ojha (wk), Yogesh Nagar, Travis Birt, Venugopal Rao, Irfan Pathan, Morne Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe, Ashok Dinda, Ajit Agarkar.

DC (Probable): Sunny Sohal, Shikhar Dhawan, Kumar Sangakkara (c&wk), Michael Lumb, Bharat Chipli, Daniel Christian, DB Ravi Teja, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma, Amit Mishra, Pragyan Ojha.

Time: 20.00 local (10.30 GMT)

(Suneer is a Mumbai-based cricket writer and can be contacted at suneerchowdhary@gmail.com and Tweets here: @suneerchowdhary)