After a rare, roaring success on Sunday, Delhi Daredevils returned to their abysmal selves as they were walloped by Kings XI Punjab on Tuesday. You could gauge that thumping even with your eyes shut – the Punjab theme song played with amazing regularity through the first
Fresh from a 151-run record partnership against Mumbai, this was anti-climax for the Mahela Jayawardene-Virender Sehwag pair. Skipper Jayawardene fell for four and Sehwag got a start only to fall for 21.
The rest was a pathetic trudge, which was actually a crawl had you watched Chris Gayle go ballistic earlier in the day. David Warner, although he made a 36-ball 40, may not have played even Tests with such caution.
Delhi could barely raise the tempo and ultimately set a meagre target; six an over isn't something you can defend unless you have strong legs and raw pace at your disposal to strike first up. The likes of Dale Steyn's Sunrisers have defended a similar target with the South African strike bowler there.
But Daredevils have all of India's ageing and declining pacemen. Ashish Nehra, who was hit for 14 in his very first and innings' second over, Irfan Pathan, who was thrashed for 19 in the innings' third over, and the now powerless Ajit Agarkar.
Umesh Yadav was brought in when all was lost and Mandeep Singh and Luke Pomersbach had already knocked off 40 per cent of the target.
It reflected a typical Daredevils problem this season. They could never get their combination right, batting or bowling.
On Tuesday, they sent Roeloef van der Merwe ahead of Warner to justify his inclusion ahead of the impressive fellow left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and to accommodate Nehra. He flopped there. Then, all their bowlers need that early swing, more so Pathan.
Compare that to Praveen Kumar, who moved the ball, Parvinder Awana, who bowled just short of length to hassle Delhi early and Harmeet Singh, who kept a cool head. They are young, unfancied and did their job.