Over the course of the last few IPL seasons, Delhi Daredevils have been the perennial under-achievers. However, things are looking different this time around. Under the astute captaincy of former Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan and the calm behind-the-scenes support of the iconic Rahul Dravid, the players are gelling into a strong unit that could be one of the contenders for the title.
From three matches thus far, they have won two and lost only once. Their net run-rate of +2.217 suggests that both of those victories were by massive margins. The Daredevils’ next assignment will be at home against the Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday evening. This could be their likely eleven for the important clash at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
An explosive presence at the top of the order, Billings got off to decent starts in every match that he has played thus far. The 40-ball 55 against Kings XI Punjab helped set the base for the lower-order hitters to flex their muscles. With KKR containing a formidable pace attack, his performance assumes extra significance.
Rishabh Pant (WK)
Despite suffering a personal tragedy, Pant had immediately joined the Daredevils camp and gained the respect of everyone involved in the set-up. Even though his half-century against RCB and 22-ball 31 against RPS came from the middle-order, he could be promoted to open the innings to form a left-right combination.
After an indifferent display in the 2016/17 domestic season, Samson turned heads during his attacking century against RPS. Although he could be slightly inconsistent at times, the number three position suits his dynamic style of batting.
One of the rising stars in Delhi’s promising domestic batting contingent. Shreyas returned to action against Kings XI Punjab following a brief hiatus due to chickenpox. As evidenced by his first-class strike rate of 78.62, he could take apart bowling attacks once he gets going.
With scores of 4 and 0 thus far, Nair‘s recent struggles have extended into the IPL as well. Since the astounding triple ton against England in the Chennai Test, the right-hander has invariably failed to make a mark almost every time he has come into bat. However, he should receive the team management’s backing as one big knock can quickly turn things around.
In the game against Kings XI, Delhi’s innings appeared to be meandering along before Anderson’s sparkling knock shifted the momentum massively. The left-hander can bludgeon the ball to all corners of the ground. Apart from his exploits with the bat, he also has the knack of delivering timely strikes in the bowling department.
Only two fast bowlers have taken more wickets than Morris’ tally of seven scalps in the season thus far. Capable of hitting the deck hard with the new ball, the South African pacer also has the ability to nail down yorkers in the death overs. Add his belligerent finishing skills with the bat, he is a complete package in this format.
The specialist overseas fast bowler spot for Delhi is between Cummins and Kagiso Rabada. With his extra pace and accuracy, the Australian has managed to keep the promising 21-year old on the bench. Seeing as the Knight Riders top-order remains in top form, his wicket-taking prowess becomes vital to Delhi’s chances.
Mishra’s ability to strike regularly is evident from the fact that only Lasith Malinga has taken more wickets than the leg-spinner in IPL history. The seasoned veteran is a vital cog in Delhi’s bowling attack and his proven reputation comes extremely handy in the middle-overs.
Zaheer Khan (C)
Delhi seem to have surplus riches in the fast bowling department that India regular Mohammed Shami is warming the benches. Not only is Zaheer marshalling his troops intelligently, he is still turning it on with the ball. The left-armer’s three-wicket spell against RPS delved deep into the skill-set that had helped serve his country with such distinction.
Nadeem‘s economy-rates in the season thus far read – 3.25 against RCB, 5.75 against RPS and 6.50 against Kings XI. The left-armer has so far thus been able to control the flow of the opposition's innings by keeping things incredibly quiet in the middle-overs. In doing so, he acts as a perfect foil for Mishra.