Battle of unequals

High-flying Super Kings face lowly Daredevils

Delhi Daredevils players during the practice session at MA Chidambaram Stadium

It has been a season where nothing has gone right for Delhi Daredevils.

And going into their last three matches in the Pepsi Indian Premier League — starting on Tuesday against Chennai Super Kings — they have their task cut out.

If the heart wrenching loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore at home — by four runs — wasn’t enough, they are now set to face CSK at their fortress — MA Chidambaram Stadium — where they have been almost invincible.

The only positive for DD is that CSK have lost two of their seven matches at home. Also, with CSK already cementing their place in the playoffs, they could get slightly complacent against the visitors. Although, it looks unlikely especially after they were handed a defeat by Rajasthan Royals on Sunday.

But for Delhi to end on a high, it is important that they get their basics right. And one of that would be batting responsibly. The top- order has just failed to stand up and get counted. With Mahela Jayawardene unavailable for this game — thanks to the restriction on Lankan players from playing in Chennai — it could turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Daredevils as he has failed to live up to expectations.

Even Virender Sehwag would hope that he can finally convert his starts into a big score. The hand and eye co- ordination is definitely out of order and he needs a little luck to help his cause.

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But Shahbaz Nadeem has bowled really well this season and with the Chennai wicket set to help slow bowlers, it could work in Delhi’s favour. But he needs to be properly backed by the others.

Except for Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan – to an extent – none of the other bowlers have made it count.

Speaking to the media on the eve of the match Ashish Nehra said: “ I think it is very important to end the season on a high, so we will look to win the last three matches in this edition.” For Chennai though, it is a case of getting their slow bowling options in order. While the fast bowlers have done well – especially Mohit Sharma and Jason Holder -- it is R Ashwin who let the game slip against Royals and MS Dhoni would hope that Ashwin can pull up his socks in time for the playoffs to start.

The batting looks good and what happened in Jaipur was a one- off case of the batsmen failing to convert a good start. But Dhoni would hope that it does remain a one-off case as the league is heading towards the business end and the teams that peak now will be the ones vying to win the sixth edition.

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