Following their thumping victory over Mumbai Indians the other day, Delhi Daredevils would have been buoyed going into the clash against Kings XI Punjab at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Tuesday. However, they were facing an opponent, who were themselves on a high following their tremendous win over Pune Warriors a couple of days back. Even so, Delhi would have fancied their chances since, at least on paper, they were the stronger of the two sides. Yet again though they failed to live up to potential, which meant that they have been all but knocked out of this year’s edition.
Like has been the case throughout the series, it was the Daredevils’ failure with the bat that let them down again. The hosts overcame Mumbai’s challenge in the last match sorely due to a brilliant batting performance from Virender Sehwag and some excellent support from skipper Mahela Jayawardene. They needed a similar dose of runs from the duo in this match as well. However, both failed, and the lacklustre batting effort that followed proved how significant the success of the duo is for the team to do well. While Jayawardene fell before getting his eye in, the dismissal of Sehwag was disappointing since he has got a start, and looked ominous.
As expected, the Daredevils tried something different, sending in Roelef van der Merwe at number three, however the move did not work. To put it in simple words, the Daredevils’ performance was totally slack, which was a clear illustration of their lack of confidence in their own abilities. Among all the Daredevils’ batsmen, David Warner was the most competent on the day. The Aussie left-hander had been disappointing in all of the earlier matches, and while he came up with a significant contribution on the day, even he wasn’t able to break the shackles his team found itself in.
Even as the Daredevils’ batsmen struggled for momentum, it must be said that Punjab’s bowlers were on the mark for the entire duration of their bowling spell. Praveen Kumar was excellent, getting the key wickets of Jayawardene and Warner, even as he kept the runs to a premium. Harmeet Singh also made a serious impact, sending back Sehwag, Manprit Juneja and Kedar Jadhav. It was a complete team effort with the ball, with Parvinder Awana and David Hussey also maintain the pressure with tight spells.
Chasing a small score, Punjab only needed a couple of good knocks to claim victory. There was a brief sniff for the Daredevils, knowing that Punjab’s batting was on the weaker side. With Adam Gilchrist tasting another failure, the Daredevils’ hopes were raised. But, Mandeep Singh and Luke Pomersbach strung together a combative partnership, which putPunjab on the road to yet another win. David Miller, who smashed the ball all around the ground in the last match, proved his versatility, by constructing a patient cameo this time to lead his side to a triumph.
Turning point of the game: Sehwag’s dismissal for 23, from which the Daredevils never recovered.
--By A Cricket Analyst