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Devils dare sans fangs

Virender Sehwag must be smiling at the irony. Just a few days back, he wanted to win the World Cup for Sachin Tendulkar. Subhash Rajta reports. Match box

cricket Updated: Apr 10, 2011 01:42 IST
Subhash Rajta

Virender Sehwag must be smiling at the irony. Just a few days back, he wanted to win the World Cup for Sachin Tendulkar.

Come Sunday, he will have to keep aside his reverence for the maestro when he leads Delhi Daredevils into battle against the same person, to try and vanquish his team Mumbai Indians.

Even if Sehwag manages to be his battle-hardened usual self, the challenge to beat the Mumbai Indians appears quite daunting, considering the depleted ammunition at his command this time around. Apart from Australian import David Warner, there's little left in this squad from the strong Delhi Daredevils outfit of the last three seasons.

Daredevils have lost all their leading match winners like Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers, Tillakaratne Dilshan and Dirk Nannes, and other performers like Ashish Nehra, Amit Mishra and Dinesh Karthik.

Same old look
They couldn't even win back local talents like Rajat Bhatia and Mithun Manhas who had proved quite handy on various occasions.

So, the current team, with no disrespect to the newcomers, isn't a patch, at least on paper, on the previous side.

The not-so-impressive look of the team becomes starker when juxtaposed with the almost solid look of the Mumbai Indians. They have the same core group, but for the notable exception of Zaheer Khan, with additional firepower coming with the inclusion of Andrew Symonds and Rohit Sharma.

Advantage MI
While the Daredevils would be busy figuring out their own unit, Mumbai Indians will be hoping to get off to a rousing start. The gaping hole that they would have noticed by now in the Daredevils' armoury is their thin batting, and their over-dependence on Sehwag and Warner.

If Sehwag sits out due to some injury (he already has a troublesome shoulder that will need surgery) in any game, the other team can't be faulted for smelling victory even before they take the field.

Daredevils' only chance lies in their skipper playing a breathtaking knock, or Warner or Irfan Pathan, or anyone from amongst the largely unknown faces playing out of their skins.