Their brilliant start to IPL V belies the fact that the Delhi Daredevils have just one representative in the top-29 run-getters this season. Despite their batting riches, only Kevin Pietersen, who bludgeoned a match-winning century against the Deccan Chargers on Thursday, has produced a fifty-plus score this season for the team.
And he is placed a modest ninth in the list. Skipper Virender Sehwag, who has at times threatened to cut loose but hasn’t been able to produce a big, explosive inning to shake off his Australia blues, brings up the 30th spot.
However, it has all been about producing all-round team efforts with solid support roles, both in batting and bowling, which has kept the Daredevils ahead of the field.So, Saturday’s clash against the Pune Warriors will present a good opportunity for the team heading the points table with four wins from five matches.
With Sri Lanka’s Mahela Jayawardene and Kiwi Ross Taylor batting at number four and five, the Daredevils have the strongest and most experienced batting lineup among the nine teams, which means they can afford the kind of hiccups they suffered during their win over their rivals from Hyderabad — the Deccan Chargers.
Among the three formats, Twenty20 cricket gives the least advantage to the home team. Still, Sourav Ganguly and Co have so far shown an aversion to travelling.
Having surprisingly started well, after the tumult in the build-up to the season, they have lost steam. Out of their six games, they have won two home matches and one when they have left the confines of their new stadium near Pune.
The Warriors’ players also will be a weary lot as they will be playing their third away game in five days. Not an ideal situation against the form team.
One reason has been the inconsistency of their batsmen at the top with Ganguly’s reflexes nowhere near what they used to be.
Barring a splendid, match-winning 81 by Jesse Ryder against the Chennai Super Kings, again at home, the batsmen haven’t cashed in on good starts. Pushing batsmen like Robin Uthappa up and down hasn’t really helped.
With the Ferozshah Kotla pitch affording far better bounce than it used to, the sharp pace of Morne Morkel, the tournament’s leading wicket-taker, and the left-arm spin of Jharkhand boy, Shahbaz Nadeem, will not make things any easy for the visiting side.