Delhi Daredevils’ capitulation against Chennai Super Kings brings into focus the need for a squad’s strength in depth.
As Delhi Daredevils prepared to take on Chennai Super Kings, they knew they were missing the services of Kevin Pietersen. And when Nathan Coulter-Nile did not take to the field on Monday, Dinesh Karthik knew that his job had become even tougher. After all, his Daredevils side was now a bowler short against the star-studded batting line-up of CSK. And in the end, it turned out to be a lop-sided affair in Abu Dhabi.
Delhi had won their previous match against Kolkata Knight Riders. CSK on the other hand, had failed to defend 204 against Kings XI Punjab. The handicapped Delhi bowling unit restricted Dhoni & Co. to 178, but was eventually let down by a timid batting display from their big guns.
The CSK openers; Smith and McCullum, both of whom played whirlwind innings in the previous game, started off strongly. Dwayne Smith played a couple of powerful pull shots, and McCullum lofted one down the ground, and suddenly one feared the worst for the DD bowlers. McCullum was dropped by Duminy in the 4th over, only to be caught at short third-man off Jaidev Unadkat’s very next ball. Smith misread an arm ball from Shahbaz Nadeem and was cleaned up.
Suresh Raina’s steady innings was customary. A mixture of fashionable and powerful hitting, he brought up his 20th IPL half century in just 36 balls. He found the gaps at will, often lofting the ball over the in-field. He also took advantage of Coulter-Nile’s absence as he took 13 runs off a rare Murali Vijay over. By the time Raina fell in the 15th over, the foundation for the lower middle-order had been laid.
Dhoni and Faf du Plessis provided the late surge. Shami’s inability to find a fuller length; a rarity in itself; was exploited by both batsmen. Dhoni in particular, was in a destructive mood as he bludgeoned 32 of 16. Mithun Manhas scored a quick-fire 13 off 5 deliveries after both Dhoni and du Plessis holed out in the deep. Unadkat’s effort of 3 for 32 was the only positive for the Daredevils.
Delhi’s innings was a stuttering affair all through. Their woes were further compounded by some brilliant fielding by Raina and du Plessis. Raina ran backwards and dived to his left to latch on to a miscued shot by Mayank Agarwal in the second over. Du Plessis caught Vijay; running backwards from mid-on. He followed this up by pulling off a stunning diving effort to send Tiwary back. Delhi was reeling at 15/3 from 5 overs, and could never recover from this position.
Dinesh Karthik tried to hold the innings together, but wickets kept tumbling around him. With the dependable Duminy and the power hitter Ross Taylor back in the hut for cheap, and the run rate barely over 5, Delhi’s fate was sealed long before the innings came to a close. The tail had a tall order to accomplish which was too much to ask, as the innings folded in the 16th over; Delhi Daredevils skittled for 84 runs.
It’s still early days in the IPL and it’s the team that gets the early momentum that’ll be in an advantageous position come the business end of the tournament. Chennai seem to have found their footing in the Arabian desert, with a clinical performance. Delhi have problems to deal with and will do well to sort them out before losing too much ground to the other IPL outfits.