Daredevils hope to continue good show

There is a glaring anomaly in the Delhi Daredevils run-getters’ list in the ongoing Vivi-IPL-9, and that’s Shreyas Iyer’s very low aggregate in five of the six outings he has had so far. He’s collected a meagre 22 runs from 33 balls with a high of 19 against the Mumbai Indians.

Delhi Daredevils would like to see its frontline batsman Shreyas Iyer, who is in poor form, get his act together against Gujarat Lions at Rajkot on Tuesday.—PHOTO: SPORTZPICS/BCCI

In three matches he was dismissed for zero and in against Kings XI Punjab, he made 3. Clearly the Daredevils have suffered heavily because of Shreyas’s inability to put bat to ball. He is one among the three Indian batsmen in the Daredevil’s top and middle order line-up, the other two being Sanju Samson and Karun Nair and the odd man out in the top four is the South African opener Quinton de Kock.

Thankfully for the Daredevils which will complete its first round of seven league matches against Gujarat Lions here on Tuesday, the other home-grown batsmen such as Karun and Sanju have risen to the occasion and played their part in four good wins.

It could have been five wins, only if Chris Morris lashing (82 off 32 balls) of the Lions attack in the home match at the Feroz Shah Koltla five days ago had turned the riveting anecdote in his team’s favour. The Lions eked out a one-run win and, despite two defeats are sitting pretty on top of the points table.

With the tournament at the half-way mark for the Daredevils, mentor Rahul Dravid and Zaheer Khan would obviously like Shreyas to thrash out the malfunctioning aspects of his game, technique, temperament, approach or attitude and get cracking. His early departure has brought immense pressure upon the daring South African left-hander de Kock who was instrumental in turning the match on its head against the Bangalore side with a 51-ball 108.

After the blazing knock against Virat Kohli’s side, the Johnannesburg-born left-hander has been rather quiet to give any sort of comfort for his side, making 9, 5 and 1 in his next three innings.

Good investment
The Daredevils made a great investment in Shreyas following his deeds for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy season in 2014-15 and the right-hander turned out to be the find making 439 runs in 14 matches in his first IPL season last year.

Shreyas’s drop in form is most unexpected because he was in terrific form for Mumbai in this season’s Ranji Trophy. He has a refreshing attacking bent of mind and likes to hit the new ball to all parts; but this season’s IPL has been so cruel to him. It’s time he picked up the pieces for the Daredevils.

While Shreyas has struggled, Karnataka’s Karun has now drawn the attention of the National selectors with his remarkable show of poise and ambition with two half-century knocks; a 42-ball unbeaten 54 against RCB that took the load off de Kock and also a splendid 50-ball 68 against Kolkata Knight Riders.

Sanju has made his presence felt on occasions, and the Daredevils think-tank would have been happy to see Morris wield his bat with power and some finesse against the Lions, Carlos Brathwaite strike it rich with bat and ball against KKR and also Sam Billings make a rousing 54 against KKR.

The Daredevils bowlers have taken 30 wickets with leg-spinner Amit Mishra leading the tally with eight. The match will be played on the same pitch that gave purchase to the Lions (Shivil Kaushik) and KXIP (Axar Patel) spinners and sure enough the Daredevils will think hard before picking its XI. It’s now known if all-rounder Jean-Paul Duminy is healthy enough to make himself available for selection.

The Daredevils have shown some spunk this season and would like to conclude the first half on a positive note.