In-form Lions takes on upbeat Daredevils

After three successive victories, host Delhi Daredevils is high on confidence having moved to the third spot on the points table. But the visiting team, which has four wins so far, is here riding on a well-paced chase against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

Zaheer and J. P, Duminy have shared their wisdom with the younger teammates who have responded nicely so far.   -  PTI

Exceeding expectations, Delhi Daredevils has done its bit so far in the Indian Premier League to gain the respect of the opposition. Now it is ready to test in-form Gujarat Lions in the battle involving two serious contenders for the four-team playoffs.

After three successive victories, the host is high on confidence having moved to the third spot on the points table. Significantly, victories over Kings XI Punjab, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians have boosted the self-esteem of the individuals finding form early in the competition.

Unlike Gujarat Lions, Daredevils has also defended a total and won – something against the trend this season. Zaheer and J. P, Duminy have shared their wisdom with the younger teammates who have responded nicely so far. Though Chris Morris is yet to fire keeping in mind his all-round abilities, he has played his role well in parts.

For a team that started its campaign with a humbling defeat, Daredevils has recorded a hat-trick of victories, in contrast to Gujarat Lions’ run of three victories followed by a defeat.

But the visiting team, which has played a match more, is here riding on a well-paced chase against Royal Challengers Bangalore. If Aaron Finch was the hero of the first three victories, fellow openers Dwayne Smith and Brendon McCullum showed the way to a fourth win. A side that could keep James Faulkner out of the playing XI, and still win, is surely close to getting its best combination in place, though Ravindra Jadeja and Dale Steyn are yet to strike form.

In any case, the franchise should be happy that so far it has fared better than M. S. Dhoni’s Rising Pune Supergiants, the other new team this season. Over all, Lions looks better equipped to deal with the challenges likely to be posed by Daredevils.

Importantly, the visiting team has the batting to deal with the varied home attack. How Zaheer deals with the Lions’ dreaded top-order will be watched keenly. Daredevils’s young batting trio of Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson and Karun Nair, along with in-form opener Quinton de Kock and Duminy is settling in. Should Lions strike early, the host could have a serious problem since it lacks the depth in batting.

Lions has no such worries. It carries enough firepower in its arsenal to bury the opposition. Going by its results so far, Lions would like to chase, something that Daredevils, too, wouldn’t mind.

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