How wrong can things go for an IPL team? If you want an answer ask the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise the Delhi Daredevils, for they had torrid seasons in succession in the IPL, last time finishing at the last position and repeating the same performance once again this season, with just two victories out of 14 games. This was sure to be the season that they would certainly want to forget.
They lost their opening game to Royal Challengers Bangalore in United Arab Emirates (UAE) , but picked up the pieces in the next game by defeating Kolkata Knight Riders and then after losing a couple of games once again they dished out a surprise bowling performance where they restricted Mumbai Indians to 125 and went on to win the game by six wickets.
That, however, was their last win in this campaign before another losing streak of nine matches: their third extended string of losses over the past two seasons and their worst in the IPL. After last year’s debacle, the team owners decided to revamp the whole squad; they decided not to retain any of their players ahead of the IPL 7 auction. The management wanted to make a fresh start and bought in maverick player and Captain Kevin Pietersen and a world class coach in Gary Kirsten.
At the auctions, their squad was heavily batting-heavy. Quinton de Kock- James Neesham- Ross Taylor, however couldn’t do much. Murali Vijay, who has been a regular performer for Chennai failed to produce similar kind of innings for Delhi. Inconsistency in the batting department hurt them badly. In last season, it was regarded that absence of Pietersen due to knee injury did the damage for Delhi; this time around he was entrusted with the responsibility of leading the side. Much was expected of the former England man, who arrived with the Daredevils as a freelance Twenty20 cricketer after his International career was declared over.
It was a difficult tournament personally for Pietersen, with just one half-century to show for his efforts, Pietersen couldn’t inspire the confidence in a unit that looked woefully out of sorts. Right from running himself out in the most bizarre fashion against Kolkata to his cluelessness at the toss, KP failed to take the mantle of a batsman and a skipper. Kedhar Jadhav and Laxmi Ratan Shukla were slotted in as lower order batsmen despite putting some good efforts to propel Delhi’s score in a few games, they failed to make a significant impact.
The bowling department suffered an early blow after Neil Coulter Nile’s departure due to injury early in the tournament. The onus then was on Indian pacer Mohammad Shami and South African Wayne Parnell, who were expected to lead a formidable attack, but both couldn’t step up. Their Indian pacers, Jaydev Unadkat and Rahul Shukla had mediocre seasons. Imran Tahir’s late entry to the side barely made a difference, by the time he was signed, the tournament was over for Delhi Daredevils.
The only positive for them was Jean Paul Duminy, the South African who enhanced his reputation as an allrounder. He was a runaway with the bat with 400+ runs in 14 innings clearly being the standout amidst the whole of team Delhi. The chopping and changing hardly did any good for the Delhi Daredevils' fortunes. The team failed to put together a unified effort and they never set in. Unlike some other teams, their players even individually failed to perform in the tournament and this led to the downfall of the team.