DD have dropped down to 6th following three losses in four games in the Indian Premier League (IPL) edition 9.
A team playing for pride against a team playing for prize. This sums up Match 49 of IPL 2016 between Rising Pune Supergiants and Delhi Daredevils. RPS haven’t had a good season, infact the worst as the IPL points table shows. The most successful captain in IPL history MS Dhoni has had a lot of difficulties in managing and leading his side and the bowling has let them down on plenty of occassions. On the flip side, after a great start, DD seems like imploding. With three losses in past four games, DD’s qualification for the playoffs is uncertain.
With KXIP, RPS, RCB and MI struggling, it seemed like the best opportunity for DD to make it to the playoffs, having finished 9th, 8th and 7th in past 3 years. But it seems they have pressed the self-destruction button at the most crucial period of the season. Dubious team selection along with poor form of Indian batsmen have resulted them falling down to 5th. While their opposition for the day RPS have nothing to play for, DD have a lot at stake in this game. Considering the importance of this fixture, let’s take a look at the starting XI for DD for the tie.
1. Top Order: Quinton de Kock has been the front-man for DD and has contributed largely for the success achieved by them this season. A player with extraordinary achievements in the international stage, de Kock has amassed 381 runs from 10 innings so far in this season’s IPL. His timing along with the power he possesses has been helpful for him and DD this year. Alongside him, Rishabh Pant could open the innings. Pant, has made most of his chances. His knock of 69 against Gujarat Lions was commendable and he showed caliber in his innings against SRH too. Mayank Agarwal meanwhile, hasn’t had a good outing this season. Scores of 9, 10 and 8 in his last few innings might send him out of the team. Karun Nair could not score many in the last match against MI at No.3 and Sanju Samson might be promoted up the order as he is tailor-made for that role.
2. Middle Order: For some reason, DD have been unable to find a place for Sam Billings in the team. Having not featured in the first 5 games, Billings proved his quality in his first start against KKR, scoring a well made 54 which was crucial in his side’s win. Despite the performances, his place in the squad is not permanent. Nair, could be given a chance no.5 as the position will allow him to face fewer balls and get going from the first ball.
After them, DD could well play Carlos Brathwaite. The hero of West Indies’ T20 World Cup 2016 win has proved his worth whenever he has been given a chance. Playing him for JP Duminy, who doesn’t seem to be at his best, should be a prospect DD will definitely consider. Finally, Pawan Negi should be included in the side, just so for his all-round abilities. Despite not producing the quality which saw the team shell 8.5 crores. Yet, playing him for Agarwal will give DD an option with both bat and ball.
3. Lower Order: Probably at the peak of his career, Chris Morris has been bowling as well as ever. Even if we don’t count his outrageous 82* against GL, Morris has been out of this world with his bowling. 11 wickets from 10 matches may not sound phenomenal, but his economy rate of 6.79 along with his death bowling just proves Morris’ excellence. He has been well supported by skipper Zaheer Khan, who has done his dual job brilliantly. His bowling has been good, but his captaincy has been probably the best this season at least if we compare with DD captains over the years.
Leggie Amit Mishra has been impressive too. Despite going for runs in the last game against MI, Mishra has 13 wickets from 11 games. His variations, especially the wrong ones and the slider has been difficult for batsmen to pick. The final spot in the team may witness a fight between Jayant Yadav, Mohammad Shami and Shahbaz Nadeem. Imran Tahir was hit for plenty and Nadeem was costly too. The bowling therefore might see a couple of changes.
DD likely XI: Quinton de Kock(wk), Rishabh Pant, Sanju Samson, Sam Billings, Karun Nair, Carlos Brathwaite, Pawan Negi, Chris Morris, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Jayant Yadav/Mohammad Shami/Shahbaz Nadeem