Delhi Daredevils and Pune Warriors will head into their last match at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Saturday hoping for the nightmare called IPL 4 to end.
Both sides, level at eight points at the bottom of the table, have been on a downward spiral with Delhi’s fall only broken off irregularly by the genius of Virender Sehwag.
With the Daredevils captain limping out with only a handful of matches remaining this season, there has been nothing to stop the rut.
The selection of the Delhi squad for the fourth season of the IPL seemed dodgy and their poor decisions at the auction have been ruthlessly exposed.
Sehwag, though, had done his best to carry the side, scoring 424 runs in 11 matches this season, before the injury. The support cast, though, has been found wanting the exception of Venugopal Rao, who has tallied 336 runs from 13 matches. The rest have been anything between mediocre to appalling.
The biggest disappointment has to be Irfan Pathan, who was bought for a $1.9 million in the January auction. The Baroda all-rounder has scored just 150 runs with the bat and only has 11 wickets from 13 matches this season.
Asked about the reasons for selecting such an inexperienced side, Sehwag had earlier said, “Whichever player we were interested in bidding for in the auction went for over $1 million. We could shell out so much for just a player because in that way we would have only managed a handful of players.” Isn’t that precisely why the purchasing Irfan defied logic?
On the other hand, newcomers Pune began with a couple of impressive wins but completely went off the boil subsequently. A string of six successive losses ended whatever aspirations that Yuvraj Singh’s side had this season.
Much like Delhi, the Warriors’ Achilles heel has been the batting. Coach Geoff Marsh agreed that failure to put runs on the board was the reason behind the side’s ninth defeat on Thursday night. “The batting was disappointing. We lost early wickets, have been losing 4-5 wickets in a hurry,” said the former Australian cricketer said after his team’s seven-wicket defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders.
The match, though, will be another opportunity for Sourav Ganguly fans to catch a glimpse of the former India captain. The contest as a whole has very little at stake apart from both sides looking to avoid finishing dead last on the points table.