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IPL 2019 Eliminator, DC vs SRH: Chance for Ponting’s Delhi to change poor record

IPL Eliminator: Delhi are the only team (among the original franchises) to have never made it to the final of the tournament. The rechristened franchise under the tutelage of coach Ricky Ponting are out to change history.

cricket Updated: May 09, 2019 08:56 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
IPL Eliminator,Eliminator timing,DC vs SRH
DC head Coach Ricky Ponting with captain Shreyas Iyer during a training session.(PTI)

For the Delhi faithfuls the entry of their team into the playoffs of the Indian Premier League, after six long years, has brought about a bitter sweet feeling. Sweet because the rechristened and re-energised team has been a revelation this season. Bitter because of the franchise’s past record in the IPL knock-outs.

Delhi are the only team (among the original franchises) to have never made it to the final of the tournament. With a plethora of national and international talent in their squad, the erstwhile Delhi Daredevils reached the semi-finals of the first two tournaments, only to bow out tamely.

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Riding high on the excellence of Morne Morkel and Virender Sehwag, Delhi reached the knock-outs again in 2012, this time as table toppers from the group stage. But they blew away both their chances of reaching the final. This was the last time the team would rub shoulders with the best in the league as a long lean spell followed with finishes near the bottom of the table.

All that changed this season as the duo of head coach Ricky Ponting and mentor Sourav Ganguly instilled self belief in a bunch of talented youngsters, who were supported well by the foreign recruits. The return of a couple of seasoned Delhi boys also helped the cause. The purpose showed by the likes of Shikhar Dhawan (486 runs), Shreyas Iyer (442 runs) and Rishabh Pant (401 runs) with the bat has been matched by the excellence of Kagiso Rabada (25 wickets), Chris Morris (13 wickets) and Ishant Sharma (10 wickets) with ball.

Delhi might feel hard done by as they finished the league stage tied on points with Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, but a lower net run-rate means they missed out on the opportunity of getting two shots at the final. But they have themselves to blame for this eventuality as the 80-run loss to CSK could have been avoided had they batted smartly and avoided a heavy deafeat.

Quite surely Ponting would have had some words of wisdom to give to his wards and that resulted in a facile win over the Rajasthan Royals in their final match of the tournament.

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Delhi’s season revived after their victory over the Sunrisers Hyderabad in Hyderabad and they face the same opponents in the eliminator. The match will be played at Vizag, a venue where the Sunrisers have done well. But the ‘Orange Army’ will be without the services of the talismanic opening duo of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow. While their absence has weakened Tom Moody’s wards for sure but the second coming of Manish Pandey this season has ensured SRH do not suffer heavily.

The clash gives a chance to Dhawan and Ishant to strike hard against their old franchise. Vijay Shankar in the other camp will also have a similar opportunity. What will be key though is how Delhi faces Rashid Khan and how does the experienced duo of Amit Mishra and Axar Patel bowl against the predominantly right-handed SRH batting.

First Published: May 08, 2019 13:27 IST