Centurion: The only IPL team left in content_cnion, table-toppers Delhi Daredevils will aim to officially seal what seems like a sure-shot semi-final berth but will face stiff challenge from home favourites Titans in their final Group A encounter here on Tuesday.
Delhi huffed and puffed their way to a narrow win over Perth Scorchers in their previous match, going atop the table in the process with 10 points. Titans, beaten comprehensively by laggards Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match, are second in the standings with eight points. Both the teams are best-placed to advance from the group and Tuesday's result will decide which of the two finishes better in the points table.
The two sides head into contest with their confidence shaken in contrasting manner. While Delhi's batting depth was tested to the core by the ousted Perth Scorchers, Titans were quite literally demolished by another ousted side KKR. In pursuit of 122, Delhi lost Mahela Jayawardene, Unmukt Chand, Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor to single-digit scores and it was left to Virender Sehwag to steer the team through.
In fact, Sehwag getting a good knock was a big positive for Delhi and the batsman himself. The 34-year-old batted sensibly, held one end firm and ensured that he did just enough to steer Delhi. Another positive for Delhi was veteran all-rounder Ajit Agarkar, who was named man of the match for his fine display.
His economical four overs fetched Delhi a couple of wickets and cost just 14 runs. South African pacer Morne Morkel was also quite a success as far as bowling miserly was concerned even though he did not take any wickets.
The Titans, on the other hand, were mauled by KKR. Chasing 189, they folded for 89 with just three of their batsmen managing double-digit scores. The opening pair of Jacques Rudolph and Henry Davids has given their team good starts in the first two matches -- they added 104 against the Perth Scorchers and then followed it up with a stand of 74 against the Auckland Aces.
Their failure against KKR proved quite decisive and they will have to come good against Delhi for the Titans to have any chance of upstaging Delhi. Key pacer Alfonso Thomas, who went for 52 runs against KKR, also needs to get his act together as Delhi has a devastating batting line-up capable of tearing apart the best of attacks.
Delhi Daredevils: Mahela Jayawardene (Captain), Ajit Agarkar, Unmukt Chand, Morne Morkel, Pawan Negi, Irfan Pathan, Kevin Pietersen, Virender Sehwag, Ross Taylor, David Warner, Umesh Yadav.
Titans: Martin van Jaarsveld (Captain), Farhaan Behardien, Henry Davids, AB de Villiers, Cornelius de Villiers, Paul Harris, Ethy Mbhalati, Rowan Richards, Jacques Rudolph, Alfonso Thomas, Roelof van der Merwe