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Delhi-Daredevils

Another IPL to forget for DD

A new beginning is always fun to look forward to, but for Delhi Daredevils and their fans, the fresh start was nowhere near being fun. Ahead of IPL 7, DD were a revamped and a rejuvenated team. But at the end of the campaign, they are carrying a regressed and a dissolute look.

In IPL 6, the GMR Group- owned franchise finished with a win-loss record of 3-13 while this year they failed to do any better, finishing with two wins and 12 losses to sit at the bottom of the pile for the second year running. Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik and Mohammed Shami proved to be major failures while the likes of JP Duminy and Kedhar Jadhav fought well to keep the sinking ship afloat. Daredevils’ campaign was also marred by muddled selection policies and injuries to key players during the season.

IPL 7 record: Played 14, Won 2, Lost 12, Points 4

Daredevils notched up two wins in their five games in the UAE. After starting their campaign on a losing note, to Royal Challengers Bangalore at Sharjah, they bounced well to defeat Kolkata Knight Riders in a stiff chase but went on to lose the next two mainly due to batting failures. Daredevils finished off the UAE leg with an easy win over Mumbai Indians. Back in India, they played their four games at the Feroz Shah Kotla before hitting the road, but unfortunately failed to register a single win. Daredevils were blanked 0-9, finishing with just four points from 14 games.

High point

Few and far between. It was only in UAE that DD seemed to be a team that was could put up a good fight. Their win over KKR, courtesy Karthik and Duminy’s 58-run stand, will be right at the top. Quinton de Kock’s short cameos were a sight to behold, but unfortunately the South African could not convert his starts. Also, Duminy and Jadhav’s rearguard effort in many games gave DD fans some happiness amidst disappointments. The inclusion of Imran Tahir in place of an injured Nathan Coulter-Nile was a welcome move as Daredevils ran MI close in their penultimate game courtesy the legpsinner’s 3 for 37.

Low point

Definitely the India leg. Playing their first four games at home was a major boost but they could not capitalise and went on to lose all their matches at the Kotla. In those four games it was the bowling that failed to deliver. The victory margin for the opposition were huge with the bowlers leaking runs in the slog overs and not able to pick up wickets at the start. The batsmen fared slightly better by posting scores of over 140 on all occasions, but bowlers lacked penetration at the start and discipline in the death overs.

Captaincy verdict

A captain is as good as the team and with DD finishing eight in the points table, Pietersen will surely not be in the running for best captain of IPL 7. KP the batsman was a major disappointment and KP the skipper was even worse. It was not that he could not get his troops to play as a unit or his on-field attitude or demeanour attracted any kind of a fine, but all in all Pietersen looked disinterested and out of ideas. Right from running himself out in the most bizarre fashion possible against KKR to his ridiculous cluelessness at the toss, KP failed to take on the mantle of skipper and inspire his team to do well. While the support-staff stresses that KP is the one binding the team together, that doesn’t mean a glint until the camaraderie is transpired into favourable results. Also as a skipper, it seemed he hardly knew his players’ strengths and weaknesses.

Most valuable player

Hands down, Duminy. Batting at No 5 and scoring 410 runs shows not only his class, but how the South African was under-utilised by the franchise. Not just with the bat, Duminy also fared well with the ball as well and operated exceedingly well in the Powerplay overs by maintaining a decent economy of 7.27 for the season. Along with Jadhav, Duminy tried hard to take his team to victory and it was the wicket of Duminy that the oppositions seeked the most.

Major disappointment

The disappointment list is fairly long, but the one player who should be leading the chart is Shami. The Indian international was expected not only to spearhead the DD bowling attack but be amongst the best in IPL 7. Unfortunately, Shami found himself outdone by the likes of Umesh Yadav, Varun Aaron, Vinay Kumar and even his DD counterpart Jaydev Unadkat. In 12 matches, Shami sent down 44 overs from which he managed only seven wickets at an economy of 8.38. Daredevils struggled in defending totals mainly because of lack of breakthroughs at the start and Shami will know that he failed in that aspect.

Verdict

A disastrous campaign. The idea of a fresh start was good, the planning of getting the right players also seemed logical, but the execution flopped big time. The team failed to put together a unified effort and unlike their franchise name, the team just could not muster enough courage to do something different to arrest the downward slide. Going in with the tried and tested method took them nowhere but down.

Must do for 2015

Bat Duminy higher up the order. Wishful thinking, but if he has the same form next year he should be playing more balls. In a larger context, DD need to introspect on how to bounce back after this. The players were out of form this year and for IPL 8, DD can only hope that the players get back in form. More importantly, Pietersen needs to get his head right leading the side and the management need to instil the fighting spirit that was missing this year.

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