IPL 7: Delhi Daredevils keen to play party poopers

first_imgWell begun is half done, goes the old adage, but it doesn’t really apply to the fickle game of Twenty20 cricket.Look at Royal Challengers Bangalore’s season, and one will see why. They began the UAE leg of the tournament with two thumping wins even without their lynchpin Chris Gayle, and looked the most dangerous side in the competition. What followed was three successive defeats.Then, at the beginning of the India leg, A.B. de Villiers pulled off an awe-inspiring chase against a SunRisers Hyderabad attack featuring Dale Steyn. Three more defeats followed, each more heartbreaking than the previous one.The last of those, to Rajasthan in Bangalore on Sunday, was the worst of the lot. They allowed the Royals to score 65 in 17 balls and win with seven deliveries to spare, despite one of Yuvraj Singh’s greatest all-round performances since the 2011 World Cup.Though there had been a sense of foreboding about it ever since the IPL auction in February, Sunday was the night when it became painfully obvious that by splurging millions to construct the best batting lineup in the tournament, at least on paper, RCB had risked the bowling department – and that’s what let them down.Each of Mitchell Starc, Varun Aaron and Ashoke Dinda got pulverised by Aussie duo Steve Smith and James Faulkner, and could do nothing but lick their wounds and reflect on just how fatal half-volleys and length balls can be.Monday’s practice session at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium was optional, but most of the players did turn up. There was more than one set of drooping shoulders, chatter was absent and only captain Virat Kohli strode into the nets looking purposeful.advertisementTuesday’s game against the bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils couldn’t have come at a more opportune moment. The struggling opposition gives Bangalore the chance to get their campaign back on track, even though qualification looks like a tough ask.The onus is on the bowlers to put in the hard yards and make up for Sunday’s meltdown. Don’t be surprised to see some changes though – Chris Gayle is reportedly struggling with his fitness, and could be replaced by Ravi Rampaul to strengthen the bowling.But the change must start at the top of the team hierarchy – it has so far been a disaster of a season for Kohli, and he must come good.Gary learning from mistakesTwo wins out of nine and eighth place in an eight-team table don’t really leave much chance for a coach to save face.When Gary Kirsten appeared before the media here on Sunday, he chose his words carefully but admitted that he had made mistakes. “As coaches we don’t always get it right. I am learning and making mistakes. Hopefully, as a team we are learning through the losses,” Kirsten said.Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes has been to play J.P. Duminy and Kedar Jadhav too low in the order, but Kirsten said it was a double edged sword. “As a coach you always sit on that – do you get your best batsman to face the most number of balls or do you use him to finish? We sit with the same problem when it comes to Duminy – whether we keep him for the last five-six overs where he’s been devastating or do we use him earlier,” he said.Talking in detail about the way the bowlers, especially Mohammed Shami, have not been up to the mark, Kirsten said: “[Nathan] Coulter-Nile was supposed to be the spearhead of our bowling attack and losing him was a big blow. Shami is a key guy and I think he has improved. I think we are beginning to understand him better as a bowler.”- By Shreyas Sharmalast_img

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