New Delhi: Battered and bruised after five consecutive losses, Delhi Daredevils would look to infuse some life into their Pepsi Indian Premier League campaign when they take on an inconsistent but disciplined Chennai Super Kings here on Thursday.
Daredevils, who suffered a morale-shattering loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Super Over in Bangalore last night, would have to quickly get their act together.
The absence of key foreign players through injuries, especially the big-hitting Englishman Kevin Pietersen and New Zealander Jesse Ryder, has hurt the team's chances badly this season.
Delhi's sorry state of affairs could be gauged from the fact that this was the same franchise which, last season, became the first team to reach the playoffs and was among the title contenders.
Languishing at the bottom of the points table in IPL-6, the Daredevils need nothing less than a miracle to turn things around in their favour and stay afloat in the championship.
A big worry for the team has been its batting, which had crumbled under pressure against Kolkata Knight Riders in their lung opener and later on against the Sunrisers Hyderabad at home.
Virender Sehwag, who is at the lowest ebb of his career, hasn't been able to live up to his reputation. He missed the initial matches of the competition but even in the games he has played, he looked completely off colour. Although he got off to a good start against RCB yesterday with a 23-ball 25, he failed to inspire confidence among his teammates.
The non-performance of the foreign recruits has also added to Delhi's woes. The big-hitting Australian opener David Warner shone in the matches against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians but failed to contribute substantially in the last two outings against Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Daredevils need their bat to do the talking in the remainder of the games if they want to revive their sagging fortunes. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene began well with a fifty in the season-opener but his bat has fallen silent since then.
Andre Russell and Johan Botha's combined tally reads a mere 20 runs in the first two matches.
The Daredevils badly need their young guns to fire, as another defeat would make it extremely difficult for them to make the playoffs.
Naman Ojha, Manprit Juneja and Irfan Pathan will have to contribute more to the team's cause and shake off the disappointment of five consecutive losses.
The bowlers -- Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav, Irfan Pathan and Shahbaz Nadeem -- have done well for the Daredevils in their last two games and the hosts would like to see them continue their hard work tomorrow as well.
It was Umesh's twin strike in the dying minutes of the game against RCB last night that enabled the Daredevils take the match to Super Over.
On the other hand, Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings are coming into this game having suffered a shocking 24-run defeat at the hands of laggards Pune Warriors.
Barring S Badrinath and Ravindra Jadeja, their batsmen failed miserably against the Warriors as they could only score 135 in 20 overs while chasing 160 to win.
Two-time champions, CSK are placed seventh in the points table with four points from as many games.
But the visitors have resources in abundance and it will be an uphill task for Delhi. It would be interesting to see what strategy the Daredevils employ against a strong CSK.
With Mike Hussey and Murali Vijay at the top, Chennai have a formidable opening pair. The middle-order is also full of talent and experience with the likes of Suresh Raina, S Badrinath and Dhoni at their disposal. To add to that there is Dwayne Bravo, Jadeja and R Ashwin.
As far as Chennai's bowling is concerned, they have both pacers and spinners who can not only take wickets, but also check the flow of runs.
Chris Morris and Bravo did a good job against Pune to stem the run flow after Finch's assault at the top. Bravo has always been a handy all-rounder. And with Albie Morkel also in the ranks, it only adds to Chennai's strengths.
Chennai Super Kings: MS Dhoni (c/wk), Srikkanth Anirudha Baba Aparajith, Ravichandran Ashwin, Subramaniam Badrinath, Dwayne Bravo, Akila Dananjaya, Faf du Plessis, Ben Hilfenhaus, Jason Holder, Michael Hussey, Imtiaz Ahmed, Ravindra Jadeja, Shadab Jakati, R Karthikeyan, Nuwan Kulasekara, Ben Laughlin, Ronit More, Albie Morkel, Chris Morris, Dirk Nannes, Suresh Raina, Ankit Rajpoot, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Vijay Shankar, Mohit Sharma, Murali Vijay.
Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene (C), Ajit Agarkar, Andre Russell, Arisht Singhvi, Ashish Nehra, C M Gautam, David Warner,Gulam Bodi, Irfan Pathan, Jeevan Mendis, Johan Botha, Kedar Jadhav, Manpreet Juneja, Naman Ojha, Pawan Negi, Roelof van-der Morwe, Royston Dias, Siddharth Kaul, Sujit Nayak, Shahbaz Nadeem Umesh Yadav, Unmukt Chand, Venugopal Rao, Virender Sehwag and Yogesh Nagar.
Story first published on: Wednesday, 17 April 2013 23:56 IST