Delhi Daredevils Look to Change Fortunes at the Kotla
Our VIVO IPL 2018 campaign hasn’t been the best so far. With one win in five games, we are currently placed at the bottom of the table. A drastic turnaround is the order of the day, and there’s no better place to start than our first home game this season.
In the previous game, Rishabh Pant struck a quickfire 85 off 48 balls and was ably supported by Shreyas Iyer, who chipped in with 52 runs off 31 balls against RCB. But our score of 174 wasn’t enough as de Villiers’ monstrous innings took the game away from us. RCB won the game with a couple overs to spare, but there were positives for us.
The biggest positive from the previous game was the fine form that the DD young guns showed. Shreyas Iyer bailed us out of a dire situation with a splendid fifty, and Rishabh Pant went berserk to hurt the opposition in the death overs. With the first home game coming up tomorrow, they’d love to keep this going and play a huge role in the turnaround that we so desperately need.
The Kotla Beckons
The story from our time on the road is a forgettable one, but now the scene shifts to the Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi. We play our first game at home against the Kings XI Punjab, who’ve had a rich run of form. This match is of vital importance for us. The squad will look to be resurgent and fight back in the tournament.
Our first outing against the Punjab outfit ended in a defeat as KL Rahul clobbered the fastest VIVO IPL fifty and helped Punjab to a six-wicket win. Considering the circumstances, the return leg is probably the most important game for DD this season. What works in our favor is our record against the Kings XI Punjab at home.
The previous three DD vs KXIP encounters at the Feroz Shah Kotla has all ended in wins for us. Furthermore, the last two games against Punjab at our home ground have both been our first home games of the season. Tomorrow, we play Punjab in our first home game of the season again. Gambhir and his men will want to repeat history.
Gautam Gambhir knows the Kotla at the back of his hand, and he’s going back there for the first time this season. He’d love to start things off with a win. It’s hardly a surprise that his record at the Kotla is excellent. 668 of his VIVO IPL runs have come at the Kotla at an average of 39.29, and it wasn’t even his home ground for 7 years. His strike rate of 136.88 at Delhi is significantly higher than his career strike rate. He also boasts of a healthy average of 42.70 against KXIP at any venue.
Amit Mishra, another Delhi boy, has picked up more than 50 wickets in T20s at the Kotla. It will be interesting to see if he makes his way back into the playing eleven for this game.
Key Battles: Trent Boult vs Chris Gayle
Trent Boult has been in red-hot form this season for DD. He has troubled the batsmen with both pace and swing. Chris Gayle has been at his aggressive best in the three games he has played for Punjab. With scores of 63, 104 and 62 in no time, he has really taken the attack to the opposition. It will probably be Boult who will tackle the Gayle-storm with the new ball for us. If Boult can win this little battle, it will go a long way in helping us win the game.
Rishabh Pant vs Ravichandran Ashwin
Rishabh Pant is the only DD batsman who has contributed with the bat in every game this season, and his exploits in the last game took DD to a commanding position before de Villiers’ blitz. He is striking the ball well and looks in great touch. Ravichandran Ashwin has introduced his leg-spin as well this season and is putting it to good use for KXIP. It will be fascinating to watch how Pant goes about his business against the wily Punjab skipper.
It’s high time we get back to winning and forge a fightback. DD need to pull up their socks and break this unfortunate streak. It’s been incredibly tough for us in the away games, but the squad will try and change their fortunes at the Kotla.