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IPL 6 Team Preview: Delhi Daredevils

Semifinals in ’08, Semifinals in ’09, Semifinals in ’12, and yet no appearance in the finals. No, these are not South African Cricket team’s choking tales in a prestigious tournament; this is the Delhi Daredevils‘ dubious record in the IPL. It’s fair to say that their performances and displays have often left a sour taste in the mouths of the fans. There have been seasons where they have breezed through the group stages unscathed and untouched and then given up tamely and timidly as soon as the knock-outs have begun. It’s tough to fathom that they have not featured in a single final so far, but maybe this season is the season of redemption. A season which will silence all the critics and cheer up all the fans and one where the team is rewarded for what it truly deserves. Here are a few things to look out for in this Delhi Daredevils side:

A new commander :

New Delhi Daredevils captain Mahela Jayawardene plays a shot during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match between Pune Warriors India and Delhi Daredevils at The Sahara Stadium in Pune on April 24, 2012.

New Delhi Daredevils captain Mahela Jayawardene plays a shot during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match between Pune Warriors India and Delhi Daredevils at The Sahara Stadium in Pune on April 24, 2012.

For the first time ever, Delhi boy Virender Sehwag will not be leading the side. Instead, it will be the experienced ex-Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene who will lead the men for the GMR-owned franchise. Taking into account the injuries which have hampered the Sultan of Multan in the past few seasons and his inability to sustain his fitness throughout the energy-sapping tournament, it seems to be a wise decision. Jayawardene is a proven leader who successfully guided Sri Lanka to the finals of the ’07 World Cup and has played match-winning knocks in crunch situations; his brilliant hundred in his country’s 2011 World Cup loss to India is testament of the fact. His tactical brilliance could be the difference at the time of reckoning.

Formidable batting line-up :

With David Warner, Virender Sehwag and Mahela Jayawardene, Delhi possesses one of the most lethal opening batting line-ups in the IPL and they will be hoping that the top three strike form and provide the team with some much needed impetus early on. The middle-order consists of the talented but not-so-experienced Unmukt Chand and the wicket-keeping batsman Naman Ojha, both of whom have shown promise and will be eager to cement their position and become an integral part of the side. Veteran Venugopal Rao is a handy pinch-hitter and has shown that he is more than capable of scoring quick runs at the fag end of an innings, justifying the high price of $700,000 that Delhi paid in 2011 to acquire his services. New signing Kedar Jadhav could be the rabbit in the hat for the Daredevils. Jadhav, who scored a 29-ball 50 (5 fours and 2 sixes) for Delhi against the Royal Challengers in his debut IPL match back in 2010, is the sort of guy whose cameos could be the difference between Delhi and their opponents at the end of the day.

Batsmen : Virender Sehwag, David Warner, Mahela Jayawardene, Gulam Bodi, Kedar Jadhav, Naman Ojha, Unmukt Chand, Venugopal Rao, Manpreet Juneja and Kevin Pietersen.

Lethal bowling attack :

Delhi have one of the best fast bowling line-up in their armoury in the IPL, boasting the likes of Varun Aaron, Umesh Yadav  and South African Morne Morkel, all of whom are capable of consistently clocking above 145 kmph during a match. Morkel has grown to be one of the most economical bowlers in the previous IPL seasons owing to the large amount of bounce he is capable of extracting from the Indian wicket and getting the ball to rise to an awkward and uncomfortable height for any batsman, reminiscent of what Curtley Ambrose mastered. Yadav, who announced himself to the world of cricket a couple of years back and then made his way to the Indian team, will once again be looking to use this IPL as a platform in a bid to launch his injury-hampered career. Slow left-armers Nadeem and Negi are wily customers not to be taken easily; Nadeem was hugely successful in the last edition of the tournament.

Bowlers : Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Ashish Nehra,  Varun Aaron, Shahbaz Nadeem, Pawan Negi, Ajit Agarkar, Siddharth Kaul.

All-rounders and new signings :

As was evident in this year’s auction, Delhi’s sole focus was the acquisition of good quality all-rounders and they now have the services of quality all-rounders Johan Botha, Jesse Ryder and Jeevan Mendis. Ryder, however, will not be available this year after a recent night brawl in New Zealand left him in coma in New Zealand. Top earner Irfan Pathan will be looking to provide some good performances after a not-so-successful personal tournament last season.

The team also brought back old guard Ashish Nehra in a straight swap for Ross Taylor with the Sahara Pune Warriors.

All Rounders : Andre Russell, Johan Botha, Jesse Ryder, Jeevan Mendis, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Sujit Nayak, Yogesh Nagar, Irfan Pathan.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRCA - OCTOBER 21:  Herschelle Gibbs (R) of Perth Scorchers is bowled by Morne Morkel (C) of the Delhi Daredevils during the Champions league twenty20 match between Perth Scorchers and Delhi Daredevils at Sahara Park Newlands on October 21, 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRCA – OCTOBER 21: Herschelle Gibbs (R) of Perth Scorchers is bowled by Morne Morkel (C) of the Delhi Daredevils during the Champions league twenty20 match between Perth Scorchers and Delhi Daredevils at Sahara Park Newlands on October 21, 2012 in Cape Town, South Africa.

The ones to miss out :

Kevin Pietersen is arguably the biggest name to miss out this season after a knee injury ruled him out and his presence will be sorely missed after his exploits last season. The South African-born batsman was absolutely devastating in the first half of the season in which he was present, providing Delhi with a strong start.  Ryder too will be out for the season.

Pacemen Ajit Agarkar and Varun Aaron are unlikely to be fit for the start of the season but may play a part later on in the tournament if they are capable of recuperating from their injuries. Aaron has been long injured due to a chronic shoulder problem which has, in turn, affected his back as well.

Home Ground : Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi.

Coach : Eric Simmons.

Fun Fact : Team-mates David Warner and Irfan Pathan share their birthday’s on the 27th of October and Unmukt Chand and Kedar Jadhav share theirs on the 26th of March.

Fixture List :

No.

Date

Opponent

Venue

1April 3, 2013Kolkata Knight RidersKolkata
2April 6, 2013Rajasthan RoyalsNew Delhi
3April 9, 2013Mumbai IndiansMumbai
4April 12, 2013Sunrisers HyderabadNew Delhi
5April 16, 2013Royal Challengers BangaloreBengaluru
6April 18, 2013Chennai Super KingsNew Delhi
7April 21, 2013Mumbai IndiansNew Delhi
8April 23, 2013Kings XI PunjabMohali
9April 28, 2013Pune Warriors IndiaRaipur
10May 1, 2013Kolkata Knight RidersRaipur
11May 4, 2013Sunrisers HyderabadHyderabad
12May 7, 2013Rajasthan RoyalsJaipur
13May 10, 2013Royal Challengers BangaloreNew Delhi
14May 13, 2013Kings XI PunjabNew Delhi
15May 15, 2013Chennai Super KingsChennai
16May 18, 2013Pune Warriors IndiaPune
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