Delhi Daredevils' horror story in Indian Premier League 7 continued as they crashed to their sixth straight defeat on Thursday. Delhi lost by 62 runs in Ahmedabad -- their second biggest defeat in terms of runs to Rajasthan Royals. Delhi had lost by 105 runs to Rajasthan in Mumbai on May 30, 2008.
Delhi have lost nine games and won two out of 11 they have played so far this year. For a team that was expected to do much better than this under the inspirational Kevin Pietersen and former India World Cup-winning coach Gary Kirsten, this has been a disaster.
Delhi made a brand new team this season. After a poor show last season, the owners disbanded their full team. At the February auctions, Delhi picked good T20 players like Dinesh Karthik, JP Duminy and Ross Taylor. Only South African Duminy made some impression. Karthik was definitely not worth the price - 12.5 crores.
Duminy's average of 56.66 -- 340 runs in 11 innings -- is the highest by any batsman in IPL 2014 (minimum 150 runs). Duminy's aggregate is the highest by a Delhi batsman this year. Duminy could have been used better in the batting line-up.
Pietersen has cut a sorry figure. Axed from the England team, the IPL was a stage for him to prove a point to the English cricket bosses. Bought for a whopping 9 crore, KP missed the first few games in the UAE. The 34-year-old's best score has been a 35 against Hyderabad. On Thursday, he opened the innings for Delhi and was bowled for 13. It was one of the many blunders he made as a skipper.
"We've tried a lot of things, nothing has gone according to plan. It's about executing your skills, which we haven't done well enough. No one's here to blame anyone. If you're good enough, you'll turn it around," said Pietersen, very much like what Congress are saying after getting routed by BJP in the general elections of India - "collective failure."
Meanwhile, Rajasthan, mentored by the wise Rahul Dravid, are quietly going about their job. With seven wins from 11 matches, Rajasthan are third on the points table and look poised to make it to the play-offs. Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad and Royal Challengers Bangalore will be in a three-way fight to take the last spot in the top four.
On Thursday, Rajasthan (201/6) recorded their highest total in IPL 2014, outstripping the 191 for five (twice) - once each versus Bangalore and Punjab. Rajasthan's sixth total of 200 or more was their first versus Delhi in IPL. Rajasthan's highest has been 223 for five versus Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk on April 3, 2010.
(With inputs from Rajesh Kumar)