Based on current form, a Delhi Daredevils-Sunrisers Hyderabad match would be the biggest mismatch.
For a team bowled out for 67 in only the last match and lying at the bottom in points table, positives are hard to come by. Delhi Daredevils’ mentor Rahul Dravid, however, says DD can only ‘go up from here’.
The fact that his team has played only eight matches so far – the least among all teams, gives him hope of making it to the playoffs. But to succeed in that redemption path, DD need to win all their remaining matches.
To add to DD’s challenge, they face an in-form Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday at home. The David Warner-led side is sitting pretty at the third spot with 13 points and a win will all but ensure the defending champions’ entry into the playoffs.
Warner has led the team by example and his match-winning 59-ball 126 once again proved his hitting prowess. The opener is the leading run-scorer of IPL 2017 with 459 runs and has been ably supported by fellow opening batsman Shikhar Dhawan (341 runs).
SRH also have the talented Kane Williamson, the experienced Yuvraj Singh and the effective Moises Henriques. Together, they make a terrific lot.
And it’s not only the batting that sets SRH apart. They have some of the best death-overs bowlers, leading with Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The medium-pacer has already picked 20 wickets and leads the bowling charts. Together with Ashish Nehra, he has the ability to choke any batting line-up.
In the spin department, the young Rashid Khan from Afghanistan has been a revelation. He has taken 12 wickets so far and is among the top five wickettakers.
It’s not that DD don’t have the ammunition to counter such a side. But they need to fire in unison. The young Sanju Samson (289 runs) and Shreyas Iyer (157) have been their two best performers with the bat. Sam Billings and Rishabh Pant have also been effective on occasions.
But what has hurt Delhi the most is Karun Nair’s form. One of the only two Indians to hit a triple century in Tests, Karun has managed only 89 runs in eight matches.
Karun also led the team against Kings XI Punjab in Zaheer Khan’s absence but the added responsibility could not bring the best out of him. If DD are to remain in hunt for a seemingly improbable entry into playoffs, Karun will have to perform.
Chris Morris is one player who has shone both with the bat and ball. However, he has not got enough support from his teammates. With 12 scalps, he is DD’s top wickettaker in a line-up that has some quality pacers.
An attack like DD’s that includes Zaheer, Pat Cummins, Mohammed Shami, Kagiso Rabada, would be fancied to rip apart any opposition. What has happened is exactly the opposite. The pacers, along with spinners Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem, have struggled.
However, they have been on the road for long and now play a series of matches at Ferozeshah Kotla, their home-ground. Only time will tell if home can provide them solace.