New Delhi: After a morale-boosting victory that snapped a six-game losing streak, Delhi Daredevils would look to continue their winning momentum and keep themselves afloat in the competition with a win against Kings XI Punjab in match 32 of IPL 6 on Tuesday.
Delhi opened their account with a dominant nine-wicket victory over Mumbai Indians riding on a blistering unbeaten 95 from Virender Sehwag on Sunday. But they are still at the bottom of the nine-team table and the hosts can ill-afford to lose any more game, starting with the one at the Feroze Shah Kotla on Tuesday. They will now have to win at least eight of their remaining nine games to have any chance of making it to the play-offs.
Sehwag's return to form just a day after legendary West Indian batsman Vivian Richards' appointment as team advisor was the most talked-about topic. The home side would hope that the discarded India opener would continue from where he had left in his previous innings.
Delhi's top-order batsmen have been unable to fire. Only David Warner and captain Mahela Jayawardene have scored a couple of half-centuries besides Sehwag's return to form against Mumbai. As a result, Delhi haven't got the starts required to put up big scores on the board. Warner has not contributed much after his initial success. Jayawardene has also not done much with the bat after scoring a 66 in his side' campaign opener, before hitting 59 on Sunday.
Two other Indians in the top order, Manpreet Juneja and Kedar Jadhav, have had decent outings, while it remains to be seen when Unmukt Chand, who has failed in the three matches he has played so far, could be brought back.
Among the bowlers, pacer Umesh Yadav has been the best performer with nine wickets from the seven matches, while Ashish Nehra bagged six from the four games he has featured in. Allrounder Irfan Pathan has been disappointing both with the bat and ball. He has taken just three wickets in seven matches and the team management could look for other options.
On the other hand, Punjab have had an up-and-down run, winning three and losing three matches. But their sensational seven-wicket victory over Pune from a seemingly losing position on Sunday would have done their morale a world of good. They have not been able to win consecutive matches and are on six points from three wins.
KXIP have been bogged down by the woeful form of their captain Adam Gilchrist who has scored 15, 9, 0, 7, 26 and 4 in the six innings he had played so far. With Gilchrist yet to put up a big score, young Mandeep Singh and David Hussey have been carrying the bulk of the batting responsibilities for a side. One good news for Punjab is the arrival of Australian Shaun Marsh, who has joined the camp and could be available for selection against Pune. But with the four-man cap on foreigners in the eleven, it will be difficult to slot in Marsh unless Gilchrist benches himself.
David Miller's masterful 80 not out of 41 balls against Pune on Sunday has given KXIP an added positive. He shared an unbroken 128-run partnership with Mandeep after most thought the match was as good as over.
Their pace-heavy bowling department has done a decent job so far in the tournament with Azhar Mahmood and Praveen Kumar being the most successful bowlers with eight and seven wickets respectively. On two occasions when KXIP lost, the bowlers had not been given enough runs by their batsman to defend. Their concern though would be the struggling form of leg-spinner Piyush Chawla who has picked up just three wickets from six games apart from leaking plenty of runs.
Delhi Daredevils: 1 Mahela Jayawardene (capt), 2 Virender Sehwag, 3 David Warner, 4 Manprit Juneja, 5 Kedar Jhadav (wk), 6 Venugopal Rao, 7 Roelof van der Merwe, 8 Irfan Pathan, 9 Andre Russell/Johan Botha, 10 Umesh Yadav, 11 Shahbaz Nadeem
Kings XI Punjab: 1 Adam Gilchrist (capt), 2 Mandeep Singh, 3 Manan Vohra, 4 David Hussey, 5 David Miller, 6 Azhar Mahmood, 7 Gurkeerat Singh, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Praveen Kumar, 10 Manpreet Gony, 11 Parvinder Awana