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HindustanTimes Mon,29 Dec 2014
Waiting for the swinger and slinger to deliver
Sahan Bidappa, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 09, 2013
First Published: 01:50 IST(9/4/2013)
Last Updated: 03:29 IST(9/4/2013)

The sight of Virender Sehwag batting at the nets must have given much relief to the Delhi Daredevils. Both the player and the franchise desperately need each other.

Both have had tough times in the last month. If Sehwag lost his place in the Test team then Daredevils, due to injuries to two key foreign players and then an awful start to their campaign, have endured painful moments.

On Monday, Sehwag, who missed the first two games — Daredevils lost both — due to a sore back, looked in good nick, giving enough indications that he will play against Mumbai Indians in the second of Tuesday's double-header. Only any issues while running between the wickets could hamper his chances of playing.

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Vital player
Daredevils would welcome even a less than fully fit Sehwag. They could also have Morne Morkel — last year's Purple Cap as the highest wicket-taker — at the Wankhede stadium, after the South African pacer landed after doing duty for his domestic side.

For Mahela Jaywardene's men, the script has already gone awry due to the non-availability of Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder. And a third straight loss will only compound their problems. Daredevils still have

plenty of chances to bounce back but they need to regroup quickly. Every season, a team goes through an awful patch, where even in a long-drawn competition like this, victory can be rare.

To avoid such ignominy, Daredevils have to find their winning touch quickly.

All-rounder Irfan Pathan pointed out that middle-order batting was a concern. “We've introspected after the two losses. We haven't played to our potential and we need to do that. The good thing is we lost our second game by only a few runs and it was a close match. The mood in the camp is upbeat and we need some momentum to go our way.” 

Finishing games
For a turnaround, Daredevils have their task cut out against the star-studded Mumbai. Having opened their campaign with a loss, Mumbai regrouped to beat two-time champions Chennai Super Kings in the latter's den.

At their own backyard, they can be dangerous in conditions that aid pace and swing, given Wankhede's proximity to the sea. And with Sri Lankan slinger Lasith Malinga expected to play after recovering from a stiff back, Mumbai have all the bases covered.

However, they would like their batsmen to be consistent and not throw their wickets away. While Dinesh Karthik could not steer his team home despite a fine knock against Royal Challengers Bangalore, the top-order crumbled in Chennai before Keiron Pollard rescued them.

“I'm happy with the way I'm batting, but if you are batting well, it is important to finish games off,” Karthik said.


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