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Still to open their account in the Pepsi Indian Premier League 2013, the Delhi Daredevils are hoping to turn things around when they take the field on Sunday afternoon against the Mumbai Indians.
After a string a defeats DD have been working towards reversing their fortunes, but losing to the Mumbai Indians in Mumbai earlier this season, will also be at the back of their minds.
Analysing the team’s run in the tournament so far, Johan Botha said, “The thing that stands out is the tight situations and the game changing moments we haven’t taken yet in the first six games. Hopefully when that comes again, we can take that go from there; take the opportunity.”
“You want one of your top four to come good. Every team needs that, and lots of teams would like to have that go their way. Watching the games over the last few days, I think all teams are really struggling to put it down. In the past few IPLs there were really high scores and this year that hasn’t happened yet so I think every team is looking to do that better. But the guys are bowling pretty well at the moment but that contributes to the batters struggling a bit,” he added.
Looking back on the six losses on the trot, he reflected, “Yes, it hurts. None of us, when we got here wanted this situation, but out of these situations, there are great opportunities for the guys to put a stop to this slide. We are just taking it one game at a time. We can’t look and say that we want to win eight or nine out of ten games or whatever it is to get into the play offs. For now, from this situation we just concentrate and focus on one game which, for now is against Mumbai Indians. We respect them and we know they are a really good team. But we hope that in our squad someone will have put up their hand and put a really good performance, a big match performance and pull the other guys with him and that’s what we need. We need one or two guys to step up and the other guys will follow. A good example is, last year, Morne (Morkel) bowled very well and Kevin Pietersen batted really well so hopefully there are a couple of guys in our team who can just start it. We just have to start it and get going and take it from there. I am sure then the guys who are left can still contribute with some wins in the tournament.”
While further discussing the overall performance of the team and not doing as well as expected he said, “That is a concern, but within the group we have spoken that it is a great opportunity for someone else to take. We have got some really good young Indian players and that is to actually throw them into the deep end and hopefully one or two senior overseas players who can step up and help these young Indian guys put their hand up. Now that will be a great opportunity for all of us to put a stop to the slide and like I said earlier it is going to take one 70 to 80 runs (knock) from any one in 50 or 60 balls to get the group going and I am sure everyone will start firing around him.”
Speaking over the absence of Pietersen, who had played a key role in DD’s success last season, Botha said, “I wouldn’t just point it at one man, we still have some really good players, international and Indian, who haven’t just fired yet. KP was the one who put the foot down and took the team forward and others followed him and that’s what we are looking for now. Kevin P is one of the best players in the world at the moment and you are not going to replace him, he is too good for that. We are all going to miss him but it is a great opportunity for someone else to step up.”
Apart from the batting woes, the bowling attack too has a few areas that they would be looking to improve on. The Daredevils bowling has been milked for runs in the death overs. “Yes that’s a concern but if you look at those two games (against CSK and MI). (Michael) Hussey had gotten 50 or 60 and in the MI game there were two guys who got fifty and that is always going to put you under pressure and from a bowling point of view we have spoken about it. We are not quite happy with our death bowling at the moment but we have got some really good quicks and some really experienced players. The guys are doing everything possible to try and correct that. And like I said if we can get couple of our batters in that situation, the last four or five overs, a guy in on forty or 50 or sixty, then the other team is under pressure,” he observed.
However, in the sixth season of the IPL the bowlers have been making an impression in the tournament and dominating it. Speaking about the apparent trend, he said, “I am not hundred percent sure it is the wicket. The guys are bowling really well and the fielding standard has been excellent and guys are taking some great catches. There are some good run outs all around the country and that all contributes to building pressure. Bowlers are hanging in there for just a extra little bit and cracking in that pressure and batters have got to make plans at the moment. Guys are getting out but somewhere in the tournament someone is going to break free and scores might lift a bit and hopefully we can be the team to do that.”
Match 27 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will see a clash of the two Royals. The Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore and the Rahul Dravid-led Rajasthan Royals will have an opportunity to go top of the table when they take on each other. Both teams have won four matches, although RCB have had one outing more than RR’s five matches.
RCB start favourites in this match but do not discount their opponents. RR have generally punched above their weight and have surprised many with the enthusiasm and energy levels they are playing with. Though the crowd at Bengaluru have been very vocal in support of the RCB, their loyalty could be tested in this match given RR are being led by a Bengaluru Champ - Rahul Dravid and have Stuart Binny too.
Saturday, April 20, 2013, 8 p.m
M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
For RCB to do well, a lot depends on the contribution by three of their top four batsmen. The presence of Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers makes for a very formidable top order. Despite two quiet outings, the Jamaican Gayle still sits among the top five run-getters this season and he will be keen to make his presence count yet again. It is no coincidence that the Orange Cap sits pretty on Kohli’s head for the RCB skipper has scored runs every single time he has walked out to bat.
Rahul Dravid and Ajinkya Rahane – two batsmen known more for their classical style of batting – are RR’s top two run-getters. Despite doing well as an opener last season, Dravid has dropped himself down the order. Rahane meanwhile has continued from where he left off last season; he has anchored the innings and seen the team home on a couple of occasions. The team will expect him to play a similar role yet again allowing the stroke-makers like Brad Hodge and Stuart Binny to play freely.
The Royal Challengers Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals have so far met on ten occasions. RCB have won five of those matches, while RR have got the better of RCB on four occasions. One match between these two sides – at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru in 2011 – was abandoned because of rains.
Last season, both teams conceded their home fixtures to the visitors. RR won the first league match in Bengaluru by 59 runs before RCB returned the favour by winning their away fixture by 46 runs.
Spin bowlers have had very little success on the lively track at the Chinnaswamy Stadium this season; they have only picked up six wickets in the four matches played so far.
Royal Challengers Bangalore will play hosts to Pune Warriors India on April 23 and the Rajasthan Royals head to Chennai for their next fixture to take on Chennai Super Kings on April 22.