IPL 2018: Delhi Daredevils must shed stage fright against Kolkata Knight Riders
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IPL 2018: Delhi Daredevils must shed stage fright against Kolkata Knight Riders

Delhi Daredevils, who are currently the bottom-placed team in the last five Indian Premier League (IPL) seasons, will face look to get their campaign back on track when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders

cricket Updated: Apr 27, 2018 00:04 IST
N Ananthanarayanan
N Ananthanarayanan
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
IPL 2018,Delhi Daredevils,Kolkata Knight Riders
Delhi Daredevils will look to bounce back in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 when they face Kolkata Knight Riders on Friday.(AP)

Delhi Daredevils have been the perennial underachievers in the Indian Premier League, not finishing better than sixth in the points table since topping the league in 2012, where they lost both play-off games.

Daredevils are once again at the bottom in IPL 2018. Barring a last-ball win over holders Mumbai Indians – also with a solitary win – the team has little to show in another bleak season.

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Daredevils’ Australian bowling coach James Hopes said the team ‘hasn’t skipped a beat’ after Gautam Gambhir quit as skipper on Thursday and that new captain Shreyas Iyer showed signs of settling down in his first selection meeting, ahead of the game against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Not knowing to win

However, the players seem to be affected by stage fright.

“We haven’t been able to put a full game together. It is either our bowlers have let us down a little bit or our batters have let us down a little bit.

“It’s pressure sometimes. We get ourselves into winning positions and possibly a team that hasn’t had a great deal of success in the last few years, and they don’t know what to do when they get in those positions.

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However, Hopes believes a team can confound predictions if it gets on a winning run. “Mumbai Indians did it a couple of years ago,” he said, pointing to IPL 2015.

Shami’s situation

India pacer Mohammed is usually consistent, but hasn’t taken a wicket in the four matches he has bowled. Hopes said Shami was distracted by the legal issues in the dispute with his wife.

“It’s well documented,” he said. “Players probably use cricket as a release and you have to sort those things before you start your stuff on the field. But that will take some time obviously.”

Delhi Daredevils though are happy Avesh Khan’s sharp pace helped get some control in the powerplay phase to rein in Kings XI Punjab at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Monday. Avesh, 21, an India U-19 World Cup member from Madhya Pradesh, impressed on IPL debut, taking 2/36 and bowling around 145kph.

Shami not firing

However, Shami sitting out means Kiwi left-arm pacer Trent Boult is overworked and in danger of breaking down.

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“This season we are aware Trent Boult is playing every game. We are running a fine line there, a fast bowler playing 14 games without any rest is taking a bit of a risk, (though) he is as fit as it gets.”

Hopes expects Daredevils spinners to make an impact in the middle-overs on a slow Kotla pitch, putting the focus on Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadim.

“I don’t think taking wickets is our problem, we struggle to contain run rate in the powerplay and want a couple of guys to try and get it down. It was still 50 (51/2 in six overs), which for us is still a small win.”

First Published: Apr 26, 2018 23:59 IST