Delhi Daredevils have been among the worst sides in this year’s IPL, and hence it wasn’t surprising that they went down without a fight even in their last game, against Pune Warriors at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune. As a result of the defeat, Delhi finished at the very bottom of the league table. And while it has been a fact that Delhi have been utmost disappointing this season, they would at least have liked to end their campaign on a high. They had a decent chance since Pune were the other contender for the worst team this season. But, Delhi performed in a matter, which made one believe that they weren’t too interested in the game, for obvious reasons.
Pune’s woes are still understandable, since apart from Yuvraj Singh they do not have any superstar players in the side, but Delhi’s slide is very much inexplicable. They had plenty of talent to outdo opponents and in fact went in to edition as one of favourites, just as they did last year, but somehow couldn’t come up with the goods. This facet leads one to the conclusion that Delhi’s problems were more in the mind than on the field. Looking at the manner in which they performed this season, one gets a feeling that there was plenty lacking in their preparation.
The biggest reason for Delhi’s debacle, without doubt, was the failure of their big names to stand up and be counted. In this context, the first name that comes to mind is undoubtedly Virender Sehwag. The axed Indian opener played one sizzling innings, but otherwise has performed like he never knew how to bat. In a newspaper column, Wasim Akram went to the extent of stating that Sehwag has been batting like a number 11 batsman. And no, this is not an exaggerated statement. Sehwag has indeed batted like someone who doesn’t know the trick of scoring runs. One wonders whether we have seen the end of Sehwag.
Leaving Sehwag apart, the others have been equally poor. With the Indian opener out of form, skipper Mahela Jayawardene also struggled to get the scoreboard moving. He was fluent in some matches, but in most games Jayawardene wasn’t successful in playing the kind of knocks that Delhi needed from him. A lot was expected of the youngster Unmukt Chand, but he found the T20 format rather difficult to come to terms with. The bowling was decent with Irfan Pathan and Morne Morkel holding fort, but Umesh Yadav’s inconsistency hurt them in a big manner.
The only positive for Delhi from this season was the form of David Warner. The Aussie was highly consistent once he was moved down the order, and guided the innings adeptly. However, even he was insipid while batting at the top of the innings. Ben Rohrer played some sizzling innings, but his entry into the playing eleven was a bit too late. And said and done, it must be said that Delhi missed their talisman, Kevin Pietersen, who was instrumental in the team putting up their most competent performance last season.
--By A Cricket Analyst