When you are chained at the bottom of an ocean, gasping for desperate attempts to free yourself, there’s only possibility. Doesn’t make sense to debate what that really is. But there’s certainty that in the aftermath of their harrowing 4 run-loss to King’s XI, another defeat on home turf, Delhi Daredevils might be considering themselves in similar position. In lighter vein, no great magician let alone a Houdini seems likely to save Delhi Daredevils from their current mess.
And, truth be told, it’s a rather inexplicable one. A kind of mess that marred their previous runs in 2013 and 2014 editions. We all know what happened to Delhi Daredevils’ fortunes then. Perhaps, in retrospect what has happened is that earlier it was Sehwag in the midst of a storm where Gambhir stands alone. It must be asked, could it be that the Gambhir-led side have failed to fire together? Could they be missing the silent reckoning that gives other sides an advantage over their opponents? Where’s the team spirit?
The strange case of Delhi Daredevils
Even as much of T20 victories are forged with the strength of individual performances, you need a collective support to back it up. It might make sense to be reminded that for Chennai Super Kings, in the event of Dwyane Bravo firing the opening salvo of the tournament through a gutsy 68, Shane Watson backed it up with a vital 2-for in their bowling innings. Kolkata Knight Riders in their absolute hammering of Rajasthan Royals saw not one but four key performances. With Karthik and Narine giving company to Uthappa’s 48 with 42 and 35 respectively, Nitish Rana and Tom Curran backed it up with 2 wickets apiece. If there’s a team that’s been rallying behind it’s individual performances then it’s KKR. Mumbai Indians bowlers- Markande, Krunal Pandya- have been supporting their batsmen brilliantly and one saw the team exert thrust to Lewis and Rohit’s match-winning fifties with the bowlers delivering the goods.
Could this be where Delhi Daredevils have been lacking?
In their last few games, where batting clicked, the bowling led them down. It was heartening to see the likes of Rishabh Pant (who, cricket pundits have gone on to define as the next Virat Kohli of T20 cricket) and Shreyas Iyer going well together in their pillaging of RCB. Let’s not forget that it was Pant once again that got going with Maxwell against Kolkata. But on both innings Delhi Daredevils’ bowlers led the side down.
The agony of a T20 loss can be a painful one. Even more so when it is a 4 run loss. What the King’s XI thrilling damning of their opponents at the Kotla proves is that Delhi may have the resources that can deliver goods- consider newly introduced Liam Plunkett and Avesh Khan- but it’s not certain whether both departments- bowling and batting- can help take the lid off the steam for the side.
The other aspect that could be responsible for Delhi languishing at the bottom of the table is their inability to pick the winning combinations. Given the way Plunkett and Avesh Khan went about restricting the flow of runs, speaks of their undeniable T20 talent. Fans ought to know why weren’t they played earlier and why wasn’t a Maxwell made to open the innings when he’s done that in national colours for his side? Could Munro have been played at the lower order? Could Manjot Kalra- who opens in domestic circuit- have been made to open?
Before time completely runs out and Delhi Daredevils shoot themselves any further in the foot as they have so adeptly been doing, there’s a volley of questions that surrounds the team.