It must be galling for Darren Lehmann and company that the players spurned by Team Hyderabad are revelling for their new teams. Kevin Pietersen started the trend in IPL 5 and Dwayne Smith did it so well for Team Mumbai against Chennai more recently.
In such a state of disarray that Team Hyderabad are in, the smarts in skipper Virender Sehwag will not want to miss a trick by fielding Venugopala Rao against his former team when Team Delhi renew their bid to go atop the standings at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Thursday.
Pietersen has since left for national duty and the defeat to Kolkata in their last outing at home has pushed Delhi (16 points from 11 games) a rung down, but their second position in the standings now is a clear indication of the progress they made from last year when at this stage of the competition they were level with Hyderabad at six points apiece.
There is another common factor too: Sehwag’s form. The Delhi skipper topped the batting chart with 468 runs (before Gayle passed him on Wednesday) and he returns to the venue of one of his favourite centuries — a 56-ball 119 (13×4, 5×6) last season during which he took his team from depths of despair to a four-wicket win against a bowling attack led by Dale Steyn.
With four games to play after this return leg encounter — two home, two away — and the playoffs looming, Delhi will have pencilled in other factors like elements and the law of averages against teams who they are very likely to play in the business end of the tournament.
It rained on Tuesday; very humid too unlike Hyderabad and though it is unlikely to have a bearing on the outcome of this game, it was rain that fetched Hyderabad their first point and resulted in Kolkata being atop the table with an odd tally at the moment. The hosts never found a way out of the morass they got into with their uncanny ability to embrace defeat and went out of reckoning quicker than one can say Pune, the other team on the scrap heap and the only team to lose to Hyderabad two times.
Unless the likes of skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Steyn, two premier practitioners of their art no less, decide to blow the opposition away and given their defeatist mindset, it is difficult to look beyond Delhi as they look to get back to winning mode in the homestretch.
Maybe Team Hyderabad should look inwards for another campaign gone awry despite some big ticket players in their ranks and turn up at the park with nothing to lose lest there be a bitter aftertaste.