A dramatic collapse in its opening game and an almost miraculous resurrection thereafter, followed by some inexplicable losses that has left the team dangling on the fringes and in danger of missing the playoffs yet again — such has been Delhi Daredevils' campaign in the ninth season of the IPL so far.
With two games to go, at its home-away-from-home here in Raipur, it is tricky to predict who would be the 11 players turning out for Delhi Daredevils. The Delhi franchise has not played the same XI in two consecutive matches so far. Unlike the other teams that tend to have their batting, bowling or even fielding as the talking point, it is this uncertainty that seems to be the distinguishing feature of Delhi.
And yet, perhaps it's this very rotation policy that has meant that the team has not lost any player to injury. What is flabbergasting is not just the rotation of players but even the playing order with someone like Rishabh Pant coming in at No. 7 one day and opening the next. Barring Quinton de Kock, no other player has had the luxury of a fixed spot.
It's to the youngster's credit that he has adapted to it all, as have players such as Sanju Samson and Karun Nair. Daredevils' young line-up has shown potential but also the fallibility that inevitably accompanies inexperience. It has cost the team some crucial points in close games, including the heartbreaking one-run defeat to Gujarat Lions.
Among the young squad, seniors captain Zaheer Khan and JP Duminy have been the calming influences. Delhi Daredevils would need to do a lot more against table-topper Sunrisers Hyderabad if the 'host' hopes to keep its playoffs chances alive.
Victory will send Sunrisers through
Sunrisers' penultimate game could also be the one that confirms it as the first team to secure a playoff spot. David Warner's men would want to seal it straightaway. But the team's only loss in the last six outings came against Daredevils at home. Warner has scored the bulk of the runs for Sunrisers, and it is only in the last few matches that the rest, including Yuvraj Singh and Shikhar Dhawan, have put their hands up. Regardless, its batting has been as much about Warner as the bowling has been about the Bhuvneshwar Kumar-Mustafizur Rahman combine.
The clash between one of the most stable and settled teams and the most unpredictable one would be interesting.
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