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Delhi's many mistakes

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Delhi_Daredevils_IPL_CricketAbout three years ago, the headline of a top newspaper read: “Delhi Daredevils fail to learn from their mistakes.” Not much has changed since then. Three years down the road, the script is pretty similar. It has been said that making mistakes is a great way of learning but repeating mistakes is foolishness. This is where Delhi Daredevils find themselves.

A captain with over 15 years of International experience, a mentor who is considered to be one of India’s best ever and yet their errant strategy raises eyebrows. From an opener, Rishabh Pant, now batting at 5 to the in-form players being dropped in favour of the not so in-form players; from choosing the wrong set of foreigners to not using the bowlers well; Delhi Daredevils has more of a ‘what might have been’ story so far in the IPL.

Although it is still a little early to comment, but repeated glaring errors have caused fury even on social media, the most recent and prominent one being holding back Chris Morris and sending Mathews to bat despite Morris being a cleaner hitter of the ball and the man in form. And though this is the most stand-out fault, there have been more errors prevailing in the side’s strategy which seems nothing but bizarre.

In the last game, Delhi Daredevils went ahead with Mohammad Shami and dropped Shahbaz Nadeem, who had bowled absolutely brilliantly in the first few games, not just stifling the batsmen but also picking up wickets. His replacement Shami bowled just 3 overs, giving away 9 runs an over, which forced them to rely on an extra over from Mathews. This isn’t all. Delhi went ahead with the selection of Jayant Yadav owing to a large number of left handers in the Sunrisers side, but he ended up bowling just 2 overs, that too in the powerplay.

 

To put things into perspective, sense would suggest that if you replace a bowler who has been doing really well, the replacement should be good enough to give you 4 overs in the game. But on both occasions, logic was defied and Delhi had to go to a 6th bowler, costing them dearly.

While selection and batting order have been the most obvious of issues, another problem lies with the rotation of the bowlers. Zaheer Khan gave the 18th and the 20th over to Angelo Mathews which cost the side an extra 15-20 runs, similar to the losing margin. Zaheer could have easily squeezed in a couple of overs from Yadav in the middle or bowled Mathews earlier and kept his better bowlers for the end.

Another option could have been to give Morris an over in the middle when Williamson and Dhawan started to go all out, in the hope of getting a breakthrough that could stem the flow of runs. But the experienced campaigner had different ideas and Delhi had to pay in the end.

If this wasn’t all, we continued to see Samson and Nair bat ahead of Pant despite Delhi needing to chase a huge total, which meant an aggressive start was key. In hindsight, it may not have seemed too bad a decision as both Samson and Nair got a move on, it could easily have come back to haunt them on another day.

In all the three games that Delhi lost, they could easily have ended on the other side, but for a mistaken plan let them down and how.

It’s high time Delhi Daredevils management, the technical staff and the captain come together, assess the situation, rework their plans and put together a more stringent and logical strategy that can help the team benefit instead of deterring them. The team has also lost a lot of fans due to their strange decision making. Fans are what make a team and it is time for Delhi to dig in deep and find solutions.

Delhi still sit 4th in the table thanks to their big wins and marginal losses, but if they want to end the tournament in the same place or higher up, there is a long road ahead and they need to pick the right horses for the right courses, or their carriage might be going down deep.

 

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