Delhi Daredevils have not been the form team in the tournament by any stretch of the imagination. And, they should be thankful that they somehow have managed to win a match, thanks to skipper JP Duminy's great all-round show. But, the fact is that, like earlier seasons, they have been IPL's weak link during this edition as well. Their batting, despite having the costliest buy in Yuvraj Singh, has failed to live up to the mark. And, their bowlers, if you take out Imran Tahir and, to an extent, Nathan Coulter-Nile has been exceedingly poor.
Monday's loss can be put down to yet another disappointing batting show. They just never looked in any sort of momentum batting first. They needed a good start, knowing Kolkata had a strong batting line up to chase anything. But, opener Mayank Agarwal fell in the second over. A bigger setback was the early dismissal of their skipper Duminy, who has been in form. Lack of starts by their top order has been one of the key reasons for Delhi's failure, and until that changes, they will continue to struggle.
Delhi could still have put up a competitive total on board. But, the middle order did not utilise their opportunities. Shreyas Iyer looked in great form, and played some fantastic strokes, but he fell just when he needed to carry on. The dismissal of Yuvraj Singh was a even bigger setback. Like Iyer, he too got a start, but did not carry on. Angelo Mathews played some bold strokes towards the end, but a lot of damage was already done as far as Delhi were concerned.
Not for the first time in the series, Kolkata's bowling was top notch. Umesh Yadav led the way, keeping things tight, and also getting among the wickets. Once again, Morne Morkel was the perfect foil for him, also chipping in with wickets, while Piyush Chawla continued to impress with his leggies. If anything, the form of Sunil Narine will be a concern for KKR. He hasn't been effective with his modified action, and was taken apart by Mathews.
Kolkata's batsmen, meanwhile, continued to impress. Gautam Gambhir, not for the first time, led the way with an anchoring half-century. Robin Uthappa again fell early, which means his form hasn't been what was expected. Thankfully for KKR, Suryakumar Yadav has continued to impress. More significantly, Yusuf Pathan is back among the runs. He doesn't look as fluent these days, but manages to score at a desired rate. More boxes ticked for KKR then.
--By A Cricket Analyst