After a prolonged break, Delhi Daredevils will return to the field as they take on Auckland in the clash on Friday. The Mahela Jayawardene-led squad would be confident of putting up a good show, considering the manner in which they thrashed IPL champs Kolkata Knight Riders in their opening encounter. However, that game was quite a few days back, and there is no guarantee that they would be able to regain their rhythm against Auckland. The Kiwi side, on the other hand, have had mixed results in the tournament so far. Auckland, on the other hand, had mixed result so far in the main round. They did exceptionally well to overcome KKR, which effectively put the IPL winners out of the tournament, before going down to Titans without putting up too much resistance. Auckland would thus be keen to get back on the winning track.
Team Daredevils analysis
In the only game of the tournament they have played so far, the Daredevils have been excellent. They have a wonderful batting line-up. Skipper Mahela Jayawardene and Virender Sehwag, if they get going at the top of the order, can bludgeon any bowling attack, and Auckland per se don’t have a very strong bowling attack. Openers apart, they also have Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor, who are as capable T20 batsmen as there can be. Plus, upcoming talent Unmukt Chand looked very good against KKR, andDelhi would like him to continue the good run of form.
Delhi's bowling against KKR was top class, and they would be keen to repeat their impressive act. Irfan Pathangot the early breakthroughs against KKR with his swinging deliveries once again. The other pacers, namely Morne Morkel, Umesh Yadav and Ajit Agarkar, all have been among the wickets. The bouncy wickets in South Africa are definitely encouraging them to bang the ball in hard.
Team Auckland analysis
After the impressive triumph against KKR, Auckland had a rather forgettable outing against the Titans. The problem with the side from New Zealand is that they depend heavily on a few names, and if they don’t do well, Auckland are bound to struggle. There was enough evidence of the same against Titans. As skipper, Gareth Hopkins will have to find a way to inspire his squad.
It was Azhar Mahmood’s all-round brilliance that was mainly responsible for Auckland overcoming KKR. He needs to be at his best again, with both bat and ball, in case Auckland want to overcome the Daredevils challenges. The other big names in the squad, Lou Vincent and Martin Guptill, also need to fire. It would help if their underrated bowlers also come to the fore.
Daredevils would believe they have the upper hand, but the struggles of other IPL teams would be an encouraging sign for Auckland.
--By A Cricket Analyst