The last time the Delhi Daredevils enjoyed back-to back wins in IPL was almost two years ago. Since then, they have endured unparalleled flop performances.
Last season, in particular, was a disaster. Their prime buy in 2013, Kevin Pietersen, proved to be a major disappointment, falling to all sorts of spinners, and as the leader of the pack, failing to inspire confidence among his players.
But one man who experienced those collapses and struggles from the dugout quietly, without surprisingly getting enough opportunities to bat up the order, is turning out to be the one with the golden touch.
JP Duminy, picked as skipper this season after being given the short shrift last year, scored a half-century and scalped four wickets on Saturday to help them register their second successive win and get back on track.
"We had made up our minds before the start of this tournament that we would try and get two points out of each game somehow. I don’t think we played to our potential (on Saturday) but I am happy that we pulled it off," said Duminy, who endured a poor World Cup, after a match-turning century in the first game against Zimbabwe.
When the refreshed Daredevils take the field against Kolkata Knight Riders on Monday night at the Kotla, two of India’s 2011 World Cup heroes will be in opposite camps. Both Yuvraj Singh (Delhi) and Gautam Gambhir (Kolkata) are out of favour with the national selectors and are trying to prove a point in what could be the last of the opportunities.
Gambhir has notched up two crucial half-centuries while Yuvraj’s half-century, packed with customary clean and powerful hits, against Kings XI Punjab, provided glimpses of his class.
The left-hander credits Daredevils’ former India coach Gary Kirsten, under whom he finished as Man-of-the-Tournament in the 2011 World Cup, for his performance.
“I have great understanding with him. He gets the best out of me. He always pushes me hard and wants me to win games. That gives me a lot of confidence,” Yuvraj said.