Rocked by two consecutive defeats, Delhi Dardevils face a stiff challenge of putting their campaign back on track when they take on defending champions Deccan Chargers in the Indian Premier League here on Sunday.
Deccan are coming into the match with two wins in a row while Delhi suddenly are seen struggling after a tremendous start to Season 3.
Not cashing on a good start is a concern for the Delhi team, who are without injured skipper Gautam Gambhir. The Delhi batsmen could not cross the 200-run mark, which was within their reach after Virender Sehwag’s early blitzkrieg against the Chennai Super Kings on Friday.
AB de Villiers has been a let down and he needs to fire in the middle-order if Delhi has to make a big score.
The Delhi team would also want Australia’s David Warner to contribue though scoring runs against in-form Chaminda Vaas would not be easy.
The Sri Lankan paceman is in good form and has given Deccan advantage by striking early. At least twice in the tournament, he has taken two wickets in a single over to unsettle the opponents’ innings.
Deccan spinners Pragyan Ojha and Rohit Sharma have also done well in stifling the rivals innings.
Yet again, key for Delhi would be Sehwag’s performance. They badly need him to give a solid start.
The bowling was not much of a concern for Delhi so far but the severe bashing they got from Matthew Hayden on Friday may have shaken their confidence.
Except for Dirk Nannes, none of the Delhi bowlers could survive the Hayden storm as they were hit brutally all round the park by the burly Australian left-hander.
And Deccan too have some really big hitters, especially their skipper Adam Gilchrist, who plays the same aggressive brand of cricket which Hayden displayed on Friday.
South Africa’s Herschelle Gibbs and Australia’s Andrew Symonds are also in good nick and once they find feet they can single handedly destroy the rival team.
Delhi would look to bring back Farveez Maharoof as the experiment of playing Umesh Yadav did not work.
Spinner Amit Mishra has a big role to play in the mid-innings since Pradeep Sangwan has not been able to stop the run flow.
It will be interesting to see if Delhi persist with Rajat Bhatia or try out some other player.
Bhatia had played a good hand down the order against Chennai on Friday but could not do much with the ball.