IPL 2017: Delhi Daredevils vs Gujarat Lions Preview

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Our cricket writer looks at Thursday's clash between IPL strugglers, the Delhi Daredevils and the Gujarat Lions. 

At this point in the competition, the Delhi Daredevils and the Gujarat Lions are playing for pride, even if it is mathematically possible for them to qualify for the play-offs. Disappointing performances from both sides this season leave them both six points short of the play-off places with the teams having just five and four games left respectively.

Can the Daredevils make it two on the trot following their pulsating victory of the Sunrisers on Tuesday or will the Lions claim the spoils in the Indian capital? Let’s take a look:

DD vs GL | Thursday 4 May | Feroz Shah Kotla, New Delhi | 16:30

To Win Match
Daredevils 92/100 | Tie 35/1 | Lions 92/100

Delhi Daredevils
The Daredevils showed incredible character to bounce back against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday evening. That win came after arguably the worst performance in the franchise’s history on Sunday, as they were skittled for just 67 by the Kings XI on Sunday.

Having been set a total of 186 by the Sunrisers, the top and middle order rallied and shared the burden of the chase to reach their target with a ball to spare. This sort of performance has been few and far between for Paddy Upton's men this season.

These two results illustrate just how inconsistent the men from India’s capital have been this term. While they don’t possess the most star-studded of squads, there were many out there that thought this young team could shake the franchise's tag of perennial under-achievers.

Indeed with the likes of Shreyas Iyer and Sanju Samson really starting to shine, the future looks bright for the Daredevils. Upton will perhaps feel a bit let down by his international stars though, with only Chris Morris putting in the sort of performances you’d expect from a marquee player.

The South African all-rounder has been magnificent with the ball, picking up where he left off at the end of the South African domestic season. His ability to swing the ball at pace has found a number of batsmen wanting this at IPL10.

The rest of their international contingent: Kagiso Rabada, Sam Billings and Corey Anderson have struggled to make a significant impact. Pat Cummins has been solid enough, picking up nine wickets in the tournament thus far while keeping his economy rate below 7.5.

Anderson will also take plenty of confidence away from his 24-ball 41 on Tuesday against the Sunrisers. The Kiwi all-rounder has been battling for form in all areas of his game lately and will be desperate to impress now and in New Zealand's triangular series with Ireland and the West Indies in the lead up to the Champions Trophy.

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Gujarat Lions
The Lions – despite having a gun side – have been woefully disappointing this season. Perhaps still on a high after finishing first on the log in the 2016 edition of the Indian Premier League, the side have struggled to replicate the success of last year.

To put it bluntly, they’ve been completely and utterly hamstrung by their bowling attack this time around. As much is evident if you breeze through the stats: only Andrew Tye has managed double-figures in the wickets column this season.

The knuckleball magician will, unfortunately, miss the remainder of the competition after dislocating his shoulder against the Mumbai Indians over the weekend. This puts massive pressure on the rest of their under-performing attack to get the job done. James Faulkner, Basil Thampi, Praveen Kumar and Ravindra Jadeja will need to pick up the slack, and in a hurry too if the Lions are to launch and 11th hour assault on the top four.

More than likely, however, it’ll be the top order of Brendon McCullum, Aaron Finch and Suresh Raina who will need to score big once again to make up for the bowling inefficiencies that currently hold the side back.

Narrow losses against - two of the competition's strongest sides - in the Mumbai Indians (match went to a Super Over) and the Rising Pune Supergiant (RPS won with a ball to spare thanks to Ben Stokes’ century) in their last two matches should give them the confidence they need in order to get one over the Daredevils this Thursday.

Verdict: Gujarat Lions 92/100
I feel like the Lions should be too good for the Daredevils, despite their much-publicised issues with the ball. The Gujarat side were pretty unlucky in their last two defeats and will be looking for a big performance against one of the weaker sides in the competition – get on at 92/100.

Written by Jason Dewey for @Hollywoodbets.net

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