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Time for Delhi Daredevils to fire

cricket Updated: May 15, 2011 01:34 IST
Amrit Mathur
Amrit Mathur
Hindustan Times
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Dharamshala, normally a sleepy town in Himachal, is abuzz with activity as it prepares to host three IPL games. Walking into the swank cricket stadium, which has plush corporate suites and granite floor lounges, the Daredevils noticed the huge contrast in conditions from the venue of their last game.

It is bizarre, observed a player. "Chennai was hot, sweaty and oppressively humid. The weather here is kinder, and the snow-covered mountains in the background add a nice feel to the stadium. The wicket too is different - the surface looks hard and has a nice grass cover."

Regardless of conditions, the challenge before the Daredevils, as they take on Kings XI Punjab, is to arrest their serious decline in form.

Successive defeats in the last two games have eroded their confidence and the team is desperately searching for a spark of inspiration. Ahead of this game, captain James Hopes spoke about getting the combination right and creating momentum.

But a more immediate need is to lift the performance, regain self-belief and display spunk on the field. Going by the law of averages, the turnaround is just a step away as the top batsmen are due for a big one. In Warner, Colin Ingram and Aaron Finch, there is quality in batting. But somehow this potential is yet to translate into performance. In cricket, the only reality is the entry in the scorebook, and going by this yardstick, the Daredevils have consistently come up short this season.

Their opponents, Kings XI Punjab, are a resurgent team that are on a roll. They knocked the mighty Mumbai Indians and then scraped their way past the Tuskers, chasing down a stiff target.

With three home games at Dharamshala, the Kings fancy their chances of making the last four. The question, however, is: do they have enough gas in the tank to make the final stretch?