Millennium Post

Time for the Devils to turn dear

They weren’t touted favourites following injuries to some of its key players before IPL VI took off. Yet, not even its staunchest of supporters could have envisioned Delhi Daredevils losing six matches on the trot, the latest coming at home to Chennai Super Kings by a whopping 83 runs, a margin almost equivalent to an innings defeat in Tests, considering the short format of T20 cricket. Unless we witness a miracle in the coming weeks, Daredevils are unlikely to reach the knock-out stage and improve upon its best ever finish in IPL so far, a semifinal spot in 2009.

Yes, they are without the services of last year’s star Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder, both ruled out due to injuries of contrasting nature. The non-availability of promising Jharkhand speedster Varun Aaron hasn’t helped the Daredevils’ cause either. But injuries are part and parcel of cricket and can’t be cited as an excuse for getting away with such horrid performances.

While the initial hiccups in the tournament were subjected to the absence of dashing opener Virender Sehwag, his return to the side in three previous matches has only compounded Daredevils’ misery. Woefully out of form for some time now, Sehwag’s brief presence in the middle has made the side more dependent on few star players. It’s indeed sad to see a naturally gifted batsman with electric hand-eye coordination struggling to connect the ball.

On paper, though, Daredevils have a pretty balanced side. Apart from Sehwag, the presence of explosive opener David Warner and the calm and experienced Mahela Jayawardene should win any team many matches.

The bowling department comprising Umesh Yadav, Johan Botha and South African pace spearhead Morne Morkel too looks well-balanced. The team has two proven all-rounders in Irfan Pathan and South African Roelof van der Merwe. But the results have been disappointing to say the least. While the poor batting averages of the top three, Warner (29.16), Jayawardene (22.33) and Sehwag (18), is hurting the team badly, the bowlers too have failed to fire as a whole, barring few inspired spells by Yadav.

To change the tide, the senior players in the team must pull their weight. It’s time the likes of Sehwag, Jayawardene, Pathan and Nehra pull up their socks and perform, if not for themselves, for their innumerable fans across the NCR region. As things can’t get more worse for Daredevils, the only way to progress from hereon is by playing aggressive, fearless cricket.
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