IPL 2018: Delhi Daredevils’ terrific trio face Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling test
Shreyas Iyer was handed the reins of Delhi Daredevils (DD) at a tense time. With one win in six matches, followed by Gautam Gambhir’s resignation, the Indian Premier League (IPL) team stared at an early exit, but things have changed for the better.
With two wins in three games under the 23-year-old Iyer, DD see a glimmer of hope in the playoffs race. They also have the advantage of playing their last four matches at home. Before that, DD have a big hurdle to cross in their last away game, against table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) on Saturday.
The Kane Williamson-led side has 12 points from eight games, and almost all credit for such a dominating show goes to their bowlers. Defending scores like 151, 132 and 118 is no mean feat. SRH did that in three matches on the trot, and without their seniormost pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
To counter such an attack, Delhi Daredevils batsmen need something special, and in campaign dominated by failures, that has been provided by Iyer, Rishabh Pant and Prithvi Shaw. The three youngsters have shown the maturity DD had expected from the likes of Gambhir and the struggling Glenn Maxwell.
While Iyer has four half-centuries this season, Pant has three and Shaw one. But they will be put to test against the likes of Siddarth Kaul (11 wickets, 8 matches) and Rashid Khan (10 wickets).
The three batsmen form the spine of DD batting, but beyond them, the picture is bleak. Opener Colin Munro has failed so far while Maxwell doesn’t inspire confidence. Gambhir hasn’t played since quitting as captain, though he could be tried as opener so that DD can use another foreign player to bolster the middle order.
SRH’s batting woes
Batting is a concern for SRH with only Williamson playing in keeping with his reputation. He is their top run-getter with a 322 runs in eight matches. None of the other SRH batsmen has an aggregate of more than 160 runs in IPL 2018. Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan are yet to fire in unison, but their failure has been covered up by the collective effort from SRH bowlers.
Kaul, Rashid, Sandeep Sharma and Basil Thampi have more than made up for the batting inconsistencies, and DD can take a cue from their rivals.
Except for Trent Boult (13 wickets, 9 games) none of the other DD bowlers have been impressive. Pacers Avesh Khan and Liam Plunkett have been good in parts but as a unit, DD still have a lot to cover. A small step in that direction against SRH may do DD a world of good.