Delhi Daredevils face an uphill task of stopping a rampaging Chennai Super Kings as the two sides gear up to lock horns in an Indian Premier League match at Feroz Shah Kotla ground, here on Monday. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led CSK is on a song with five victories on the trot while Delhi hardly have anything to rejoice with four defeats in six outings so far. Even the return to their home turf failed to change DD's fortunes as they copped a five-wicket defeat against Rajasthan Royals on Saturday night. (Recap in pics: When Chennai beat Delhi in UAE)
Delhi have failed to click as a unit and that is a major reason for their misery in the Twenty20 League. In complete contrast, Chennai have been outstanding be it in batting, bowling or fielding. In batting, South African southpaw JP Duminy, and in bowling, India spearhead Mohammed Shami, along with Wayne Parnell, have been the saving grace for them. (Also read: When Kevin Pietersen was astounded by Delhi Metro)
Sitting just above the bottom-placed defending champions Mumbai Indians in the eight-team competition, Delhi need a miracle of sorts to move up the ladder and be in reckoning for the knockout stage. Delhi were humiliated by Chennai in the UAE-leg when they lost to them by an embarrassing 93-run margin after being all out for a paltry 84 in a chase of 178.
There has been only one match - against Sunrisers Hyderabad - against whom the manner of defeat was not embarrassing as almost all batsmen contributed even though the effort proved insufficient in the end.
Now Daredevils are in such a mess that they need Ross Taylor, Dinesh Karthik and most importantly skipper Kevin Pietersen to do something special if they aspire further progress in the tournament. Quinton de Kock and Murali Vijay have got runs on and off but there is no time to relax.
However, it is always easier said than done when a team is going through a rough patch. Moreover, they have a team to contend with which can be described with only superlatives. Right from the top to middle and lower order, the batting line-up is equipped with match winners. Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum have given the side the never-before solidity and in the middle order they have players such as Suresh Raina, Dhoni himself and Faf du Plessis.
CSK's attack is also formidable with Ben Hilfenhaus leading from the front. Mohit Sharma has been a revelation while the wily Ravichandran Ashwin always has a trick or two up his sleeves to restrict the rival batsman. If that is not enough, Ravindra Jadeja is there as a big asset for the team with his all round ability. The best way for Delhi is to put pressure on CSK batting- line up and restrict them to a gettable total but saying is one thing and doing it is another.
Delhi Daredevils: Kevin Pietersen (C), M Agarwal, N Coulter-Nile, Q de Kock, JP Duminy, K Jadhav, D Karthik, S Kaul, Milind Kumar, Mohammed Shami, S Nadeem, J Neesham, W Parnell, HS Sharath, R Sharma, LR Shukla, R Shukla, R Taylor, MK Tiwary, S Tiwary, JD Unadkat, M Vijay and J Yadav.
Chennai Super Kings: Mahendra Singh Dhoni (C), Suresh Raina, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Dwayne Bravo, Faf du Plessis, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Smith, Ashish Nehra, Mohit Sharma, Samuel Badree, Ben Hilfenhaus, Matt Henry, B Aparajith, Mithun Manhas, Ishwar Pandey, Pawan Negi, Vijay Shankar, Ronit More, John Hastings.