DD vs DC: Sehwag & Co. look to get back to winning mode

The defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders in their last outing at home has pushed Delhi daredevils (16 points from 11 games) a rung down, but their second position in the standings now is a clear indication of the progress they made from last year when at this stage of the competition they were level with Hyderabad at six points apiece, says an article in The Times Of India.

“There is another common factor too: Sehwag’s form. The Delhi skipper topped the batting chart with 468 runs (before Gayle passed him on Wednesday) and he returns to the venue of one of his favourite centuries — a 56-ball 119 (13x4, 5x6) last season during which he took his team from depths of despair to a four-wicket win against a bowling attack led by Dale Steyn,” adds the artcile.

“With four games to play after this return leg encounter — two home, two away — and the playoffs looming, Delhi will have pencilled in other factors like elements and the law of averages against teams who they are very likely to play in the business end of the tournament. Unless the likes of skipper Kumar Sangakkara and Dale Steyn, two premier practitioners of their art no less, decide to blow the opposition away and given their defeatist mindset, it is difficult to look beyond Delhi as they look to get back to winning mode in the homestretch,” adds the article.

Meanwhile The Indian Express adds that a win would serve the visitors well as they face tough rivals ahead in Royal Challengers Bangalore and Chennai Super Kings, who are desperate to come out of mid-table logjam and be in play-off contention.

“There is little doubt that Daredevils are the odds-on favourites but they need to guard against complacency as their batting and bowling both looked ordinary against KKR and for the first time, their middle-order was put to test and it failed miserably. Their foreign recruit Ross Taylor has not fired as yet and in the absence of star English cricketer Kevin Pietersen, who has gone back to England for national duty, the defeat has certainly acted as a wake-up call for Virender Sehwag's boys,” says the report.

According to a report in Hindustan Times, although the Daredevils batsmen have been the talking point this season, their bowlers have been equally impressive. TA Sekhar, former Test pacer and Daredevils’ chief mentor, explains: “T20 is all about innovation. One needs a game plan before entering the field. The pacers must be able to use variation while the spinners should be able to use the size of the ground to their advantage,” he told HT on Wednesday, on the eve of their clash against bottom-played Deccan Chargers.

“We have intelligent bowlers, Morne Morkel (highest wicket taker with 20), Shahbaz Nadeem, Pawan Negi, Irfan Pathan and Umesh Yadav. If we tell them what needs to be done, they pick up easily. If one sticks to 80 per cent of the plan, the battle is almost won.”