New Delhi: Hoping to end their 10-match losing streak in the IPL cricket tournament, Delhi Daredevils will look to turn their fortunes around on home turf when they take on an upbeat Rajasthan Royals at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Sunday.
Notwithstanding their one-run opening game loss to Chennai Super Kings, the Jean-Paul Duminy-led side has shown ample courage with their new-look squad in this edition of the cash-rich league.
Even though Delhi batting showed gaping holes in their 151-run chase at Chepauk, Albie Morkel struck an unbeaten 55-ball 73 to take the team to touching distance of a win.
The bowling also showed muscle with new-ball bowler Nathan Coulter-Nile bagging three wickets to check the CSK surge. But the tournament’s biggest buy, Yuvraj Singh will really have to stand up and deliver to give Delhi the much-needed impetus.
The spinners — Imran Tahir, Duminy and Amit Mishra — though have bowled with a lot of heart and the trio will once again be looking to turn things around in front of their home crowd.
It will also be interesting to see if veteran pacer Zaheer Khan, who has been struggling with his fitness, takes field in the Sunday clash.
Having lost nine straight games in the previous edition, Delhi started this season with another defeat but would have taken some heart after giving a tough time to two-time champions CSK.
Pleased with his teams bowling show against Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s side, Duminy said that they will have to asses and maximize player utility.
“I was pretty happy with the way we went with the ball. Yes, there is learning. Whether we need to re-shuffle or maximize player potential in batting line-up, we’ll see. We have to asses it game by game and see what is going to be our strategy in terms of conditions we are going to face. We will have to maximize the powerplay and see how it goes,” Duminy had said after the match.
Inaugural edition champions Rajasthan, on the other hand, had a winning start to the season, with a comfortable 26-run victory against Kings XI Punjab in Pune yesterday, on a day it came to light that one of its players was approached last month for spot-fixing by someone not in the team.
Rajasthan looked confident under Steven Smith’s stand-in-captaincy and Rahul Dravid’s mentorship. Regular skipper Shane Watson, who had a niggle in his right knee, is expected to take field tomorrow.
The side, which seemed to have put their spot-fixing past behind them, might not have enjoyed the kind of success under Shane Warne, when they lifted their one and only title in 2008, but have always been a dangerous outfit with the tag of underdogs hanging by their necks all through.
If Australia’s James Faulkner came up with a good all-round effort to score 46 runs and three wickets in the team’s clinical performance in Pune, then Rohtak-born Deepak Hooda entertained the crowd with his 15-ball 30-run knock.
Apart from Faulkner, pace spearhead Tim Southee also bowled well to pick two wickets, though he was expensive in his four overs.
Indian talent Sanju Samson, Ajinkya Rahane, Dhawal Kulkarni and Stuart Binny also give muscle to a side that has a fighting character.
The two sides will be playing their first day-game of the competition tomorrow and it will be interesting to see how the foreign players adapt to the hot conditions here.
Rajasthan enjoy a better head-to-head count with eight wins off the 14 games between the two sides, but Delhi on their home turn would certainly look for a change of fortune.