Preview: Delhi play Pune in fight for the wooden spoon

Delhi will aim to win as their campaign is nearing an end in this edition AFP

By Suneer Chowdhary

New Delhi: May 20, 2011

When the Delhi Daredevils play the Pune Warriors India, in what will be the 68th game of the IPL on the penultimate league-game day, it may not incite interest from not too many fans. Both sides have eight points from their 13 games and would be grappling to shun the ignominy of ending last in the tournament.

A loss for either would ensure the tenth position. A win, on the other hand, can take the side up to the eighth position, subject to Deccan losing to Punjab earlier in the day.

Ever since Virender Sehwag left, the Daredevils seem to have got stuck. They have lost three in a row and haven t shown many signs of winning any. A clue to their struggles can be had from the fact that they have gone into games making enough changes for even the most ardent of their supporters to find difficult to follow.

Pune had begun with two wins, lost seven in a row before getting a couple more of the wins under their belt. Now, they are on a two-match losing streak again and the issue hasn t been too different from before in the tournament strange batting orders and pathetic batting.

The problem is that both sides have been so poor with their cricket in this tournament; it is difficult to pick up a winner. Pune s spinning department is much heavier than their opposition, whose best bet is Roelof van der Merwe followed by the part-timers. It will be the last opportunity for Rahul Sharma to impress the selectors, he is already third in the list with 16 wickets and possesses an economy rate of less than 5.5 per over.

The fans can only hope for a reasonable quality game on a pitch that does not play like a typical Kotla track slow, low and without much in it for the batsmen.


Teams:

DD (Probable): David Warner, Venugopal Rao, James Hopes (c), Naman Ojha (wk), Sreedharan Sriram, Irfan Pathan, Roelof van der Merwe, Morne Morkel, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Yogesh Nagar.

PWI (Probable):Sourav Ganguly, Manish Pandey, Graeme Smith, Yuvraj Singh (c), Callum Ferguson, Robin Uthappa (wk), Mithun Manhas, Rahul Sharma, Alfonso Thomas, Murali Karthik, Wayne Parnell.

Time: 20.00 local (14.30 GMT)

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