Delhi Daredevils are contenders for a place in the playoffs. Their cogent bowling and the experience of skipper Zaheer Khan has come in good stead this season. But, it is the stellar batting display that has been the biggest surprise.
In the lead-up to the IPL, Delhi were considered to have a comparatively weak batting line-up. Filled with youngsters, expectations were low.
Surprisingly, it is these young batsmen who have made a mark. Rishabh Pant and Sanju Samson made an impression with a fine partnership against Sunrisers Hyderabad, whose pace battery of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Mustafizur Rehman has floored the opposition.
Pant, 18, and Samson, 21, have formed the core of the middle order in the past few games. Karun Nair, 24, too has played his part.
Compared to most teams, the Delhi outfit is by far the youngest. While most teams sparingly give opportunities to the young ones, Delhi have included them consistently in the XI and handed them key responsibilities.
To their credit, each one of them seems to have carried off the task well. Mentored by Rahul Dravid, who is also the coach of the India U-19 side, these young cricketers are slowly growing in their prescribed roles.
“All the youngsters are doing well and playing the role fantastically well for the team. (They) are learning quickly and that’s the difference,” said Zaheer.
The real test though begins now. Delhi are within reach of a place in the playoffs. With three games to follow, the pressure is on with a tight race ensuing to make the mark.
It is a situation that will test the young members of the side. For Delhi, a win in every game from here on is essential. Their previous outing against Mumbai Indians here did not go to plan. The batting will be the key to their success, and how the youngsters cope with the challenge will be interesting.