Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat Lions | Wednesday 27 April | 16:30 | New Delhi
The 22nd match of this season’s IPL will pit the two of this season’s biggest over-achievers – the Delhi Daredevils and the Gujarat Lions – against one another.
A win for the Daredevils will see them leapfrog their opponents into second place while a win for the newly-formed franchise from Gujarat will see them claim top spot on the 2016 IPL standings. Who will come up trumps on Wednesday? Let’s have a look.
To Win Match
Delhi Daredevils 5/4 | Draw 35/1 | Gujarat Lions 13/20
For once this season the Delhi Daredevils managed to claim a win without Quinton de Kock putting in a star performance. The victory came against the Mumbai Indians on Saturday evening in a game that saw Sanju Samson (60) and JP Duminy (49) score the bulk of the Daredevils’ 164 run total.
Samson will be happy that he’s made a telling contribution after enduring a bit of an indifferent run of form in the lead up to Saturday’s triumph. For Duminy, it was only his second game back following a hamstring injury that he picked up at the recently concluded World T20 – and the way he went about constructing his innings would suggest that he’s never really been away at all. His form will be vital to a side still punching very much above their weight moving forward.
One still feels, however, that Quinton de Kock still remains the key man in the Daredevils’ push for a play-off place. The pocket-sized South African dynamo has been near faultless in this season’s competition – and for punters who persistently back him in the top run scorer market, he’s the gift that keeps on giving. He’s been in magnificent touch so far in this tournament and is probably on a par with the likes of Gautam Gambhir and David Warner who top the run-scoring charts in this season’s edition of the competition.
It’s not only the daredevils’ batting that’s been impressive this season, their bowlers have performed admirably thus far. Amit Mishra probably deserves as all the plaudits that pundits around the world have been offering up to de Kock. The podgy leggie has had an excellent tournament to date having claimed eight wickets at an incredibly average of 10.28. They will need more from the likes of Chris Morris, Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan and Imran Tahir going forward, though. One feels that when this attack clicks, opposition batsmen are going to be in for the shock of their lives.
The Gujarat Lions come into this game as heavy favourites, and for good reason too. They possess some of the competition’s most destructive top and middle order batsmen. Aaron Finch, Brendon McCullum, Suresh Raina and Dwayne Smith are all more than capable taking any attack in the competition apart.
Smith got his first start of the competition last time out against the much-fancied Royal Challengers Bangalore. He played his way to a stylish 24-ball 32 as his side went on to chase down the Bangalore franchise’s total of 180 with three balls to spare. Whether or not he’ll get into the team for Wednesday’s clash remains to be seen. It’s no mean feat keeping either Finch or McCullum out of a side for any period of time.
While their batting has been magnificent, they Gujarat Lions will be looking for a bit more from their bowlers, especially seeing as they’re coming up against such an in-form batting line-up. Dwayne Bravo started the tournament like a house on fire, claiming four wickets, but has since only managed two in the following four games. One thing he does have in his locker is the ability to change things up. His uncanny aptitude when it comes to variations is second to none. That said, he can be a bit guilty of trying too much at times instead of keeping things simple. I’ve also been impressed with Ravindra Jadeja so far. While he hasn’t torn through opposition batting line-ups, he’s managed to keep scoring rates down by consistently hitting the right sort of areas on the pitch.
Looking ahead to Wednesday, I’d like to see Finch come back into the side for either Smith or McCullum – the latter could probably do with a rest. Other than that, I’d not tinker too much with a side that has been grinding out the results.
Verdict: Delhi Daredevils 5/4
I really like the look of both these teams and picking a winner hasn’t been easy. That said, I think the Daredevils – with so many of their star batsmen in form – will nick this one ahead of the visiting Gujarat Lions. They’ve performed well at home so far this season and are tipped to leapfrog their Wednesday opposition into second spot on the standings.