|The Rising Pune Supergiants and the Delhi Daredevils square off in Tuesday's only IPL clash.|
This match pits two sides who are experiencing contrasting fortunes against each other. The Delhi Daredevils have everything to play for, needing to win their remaining games to keep their playoff chances alive, while the Rising Pune Supergiants; having been knocked out of the tournament in their last game, have nothing left but pride to play for. Pune won the reverse fixture and Delhi will be hoping to turn their recent form around and win against the bottom side.
To Win Match
Pune Supergiants 23/20 | Tie 35/1 | Delhi Daredevils 7/10
Rising Pune Supergiants
It has been a debut season to forget for the Supergiants. The giants they recruited in the off season were all gone by mid-season through injury. Kevin Pietersen, Steven Smith, Mitchell Marsh, Faf Du Plessis. No team in the world can come back after losing players of such calibre. The truth is, though, even with these players in the team they did not look like a side that would challenge for the trophy. Thrashing the defending champions Mumbai in the opening game of the season, they then went on to lose five in a row before defeating Hyderabad and since that victory, have won just one from six. George Bailey and Usman Khawaja have struggled to make an impact after being recruited mid-season, MS Dhoni has had little impact with the bat and with the captaincy. Ajinkya Rahane has shone with the bat this season and has probably been the only Pune player to come out of this season with his reputation intact. 419 runs and 6 fifties has seen Rahane into the top five runscorers this season.
It is not just Pune’s batsmen who have struggled this season. Not one of the bowlers have managed to take ten wickets this season. In fact, looking at the highest wicket takers charts, one would have to travel down to the 22nd name on the list to find Pune’s highest wicket taker, Adam Zampa. What is even more scary about this fact is that Zampa has played only three matches. Six of Zampa’s eight wickets came in a spell of 6/19 against Hyderabad and with the knowledge that legspinners are extremely successful at T20 level, one wonders why he has not featured more prominently this season. Thisara Perera has also taken eight wickets, but in ten games and at an economy rate of just under ten. Murugan Ashwin got off to a promising start this season but has gone off the boil recently whil Ashoke Dinda has shown glimpses but has not terrorised any batting line-ups.
Delhi’s season has been an inconsistent one. Six wins and five losses see them still within reach of the playoffs but they have it all to do and will need to win their remaining three games and hope for other results to go their way. Their batsmen have been good if not brilliant but what has been impressive is how most of the batsmen have managed to chip in and score runs at crucial moments. Quinton de Kock has mirrored Delhi’s season with his inconsistencies. His one Hundred and two fifties coming on either side of some low scores. JP Duminy has been something of a rock in the middle order and has been able to help Delhi out of some sticky situations and has recently improved his strike rate. Sanju Samson and Karun Nair have both been good but will need to reach the next level in the remaining three games to really help the side progress.
Delhi’s bowlers have also shown signs of inconsistency but some of their performances have been matchwinning. Amit Mishra, who is in my opinion the best legspinner in the world, has been brilliant, taking thirteen wickets at a good average and economy. Chris Morris has shown the control and pace that was perhaps missing in the World T20. Morris has contributed with bat and ball but it is with the ball where Delhi could perhaps look to him for more wickets. He so far has eleven and will be looking to add to that total. Zaheer Khan has taken nine wickets this season and has been a shadow of his former self this season, going at over eight runs an over.
Verdict: Delhi to win at 7/10.
This is a match that Delhi simply have to win. They will be looking to make amends for the loss they suffered at the hands of Mumbai on Sunday. Pune also lost their previous game, against Kolkata via the Duckworth Lewis method but it is Delhi who have more to play for here and I think that Pune will just be keen for this season to be over. Back Delhi to win here and keep their chances of a playoff alive.