Can Virat Kohli sink Delhi Daredevils? As he steps into a far too familiar ambience, he knows it like the back of his hand, all eyes would be trained on him. Of course, the brightest icon of modern cricket is accustomed to being put under intense scrutiny. So, what’s new?
Of late, the young man from Delhi finds himself in a situation quite alien. Runs have deserted him and the greatest of effort from his mates at Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) can’t alter the team’s ultimate evaluation in this edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). RCB is going to finish at the bottom of the league even if it wins the last league match against Delhi Daredevils.
Three half-centuries in nine innings is not in keeping with Kohli’s awesome potential. Last season, he plundered 973 innings from 16 innings at an astonishing strike rate of 152.03. Four centuries and seven half-centuries adorned his majestic batting show. The spectators hailed and the bowlers wailed as Kohli strode the 2016 edition with a thunderous display of his batting might.
It seems a distant dream now. Kohli has not met his benchmarks and the team has languished under the burden of 10 defeats. Finalist last season, RCB has looked abysmally short of confidence and motivation. No RCB batsman has cracked a century and the bowlers, especially the seamers, have proved an embarrassment. The team has relied a lot on the slow bowlers but favourable results have proved elusive.
The challenge for Kohli and RCB would be to charge up their batteries and sign off this most forgettable edition of the IPL on a pleasant note. The opposition is better-placed in the points table but also out of the race for a play off spot. For Daredevils, the goal of a title win has remained a dream.
Daredevils may pat itself on two hard-earned back-to-back victories but the improvement has come too late in the league. For a team that relies on Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant to give their bowlers a defendable target, the current position in the table is not hard to understand. Daredevils has lacked the collective muscle to pulverise the opponents and suffered from inconsistency in all departments of the game, including strategic planning.
Expect the Ferozeshah Kotla to fill up on Sunday much before the first ball is bowled in the last IPL match of the season at this venue. For the audience, all that would count is a cracker from their cherished hero, Kohli, and a counter from Pant, the rising star of Indian cricket. There is little competitive flavour to look forward to in this otherwise redundant contest.
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