After a below-par effort against Pune Supergiants, the Delhi Daredvils will be looking to hit the straps right away with their prime players set to comeback in the playing XI as they take on wooden spooners Kings XI Punjab in an IPL encounter in Mohali today.
After three horrendous season, the Daredevils have had a decent outing so far under Rahul Dravid’s mentorship and Zaheer Khan’s captaincy, having won five of their eight games and are placed third in the eight-team table.
There has been no standout performer as such but contributions from most of the players in their five victories has made it clear that Dravid’s men are certainly not dependant on any one individual to carry the team forward.
The team has set a new template taking the ‘Horses for Courses’ theory to an altogether new level with only three Indian players — leg-spinner Amit Mishra, wicketkeeper-batsman Sanju Samson and top-order player Karun Nair getting a start in all the eight matches. All the other players have been either rested or replaced during the course of the tournament so far.
For Delhi though, the biggest question will be where would they fit their Rs 8.5 crore buy Pawan Negi.
Every year, the GMR-owned franchise have had a buy that has defied logic and the player has inevitably come a cropper.
Negi’s 51 runs in 6 innings and a total of 6 overs for 65 runs in 6 matches without a wicket would have raised many more questions had the team repeated its dismal performances of the past editions.
On paper, Daredevils are overwhelming favourites against a Kings XI Punjab side, who have neither shown stomach for a fight nor any kind of proper homework to take on the opposition.
More so, the mistakes have been repeated, they have pressed the panic button by replacing David Miller as the skipper, which has done little to change the fortune of their team.
The positive aspect of the Daredevils team however has been their ability to stick to the basics and a testimony to the fact is five wins.
Delhi would hope Zaheer gets back into action quickly as he has managed to get early breakthroughs and has been impressive in the death overs in some of the matches.
Also his captaincy and the role of a bowling mentor that he executes in a wonderful manner was missed in the last match.
Another man who was missed is batting mainstay Quinton De Kock has been scoring runs consistently. De Kock was given a much-needed rest so that he could cope up with the gruelling schedule.
Youngsters Samson and Rishabh Pant will need to play big knocks to make an impact.