Before the start of the ongoing season, there was an air of optimism surrounding the Delhi Daredevils’ (DD) camp. The national-capital based outfit had struggled to do well in the past years and speculations were high that the trend would change after they assembled a good squad and backroom staff. However, bowling coach James Hopes is dejected following the dismal show so far.
In Gautam Gambhir, they signed up a two-time IPL winning skipper. To bolster their coaching staff, they signed the legendary Ricky Ponting. During the auction, they had secured the services of Colin Munro, Jason Roy, Prithvi Shaw, Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada, Glenn Maxwell and other big names.
Not surprisingly, they were tipped by many to do well this season. But 11 games in the season and the story has not changed much.
On Thursday (May 10), the Daredevils lost their 8th game of the season and are now out of the playoff race.
During the course of the tournament, Gambhir stepped down as skipper after a dismal start to the season. Shreyas Iyer was handed the team’s reigns but the team’s fortunes did not change on the expected notes under the new skipper.
On Thursday, the Daredevils were crushed by table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad by nine wickets. The scoreboard might suggest that it was a close game but it was not so.
At one stage, Daredevils were reeling at 98 for four, before Rishabh Pant’s maiden IPL ton propelled them to 187 for five. In reply, Sunrisers rode on Shikhar Dhawan (92*) and Kane Williamson (80*) unbeaten fifties to reach home with seven balls to spare.
With the season now coming to a premature end, the Daredevils camp is now looking to treat the remaining three games with an eye on the next season.
Expressing his disappointment over the loss, Daredevils coach Hopes said that the remaining three games will now be important to prepare for the next season.
“Bad pressure is when you are struggling and trying to do everything to survive. We know where we are at the moment. Our guys haven’t coped up well,” said a disappointed Hopes at the post-match press conference at Kotla.
“We are out of the tournament. We need to see the bigger picture. What do we have for next year? What does the roster look like for next year? Things will be spoken about. The next three games will be an opportunity to see some of the guys on the bench,” added Hopes, while saying that Nepal leg-spinner Sandeep Lamichhane might get a look-in.
One of the reasons behind Delhi’s dismal campaign this season is the failure of their bowlers.
Despite having the likes of Boult, Liam Plunkett, Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem, Delhi Daredevils could not quite manage to make a mark with the ball.
Hosts made a hash of the 188-run target, allowing Sunrisers to reach home with utmost ease.
“To be honest, we lacked penetration with the ball. I told the bowlers not to get too predictable and not to get stuck to one plan. I think Sunrisers are the best bowling lineup in the competition. But they too got caught up towards the end doing one thing all the time and Rishabh took them on. A score of 188 should have been a more competitive total than what it ended up being,” rued Hopes.
James Hopes also rued the absence of Kagiso Rabada, who was ruled out of the season with an injury.
Chris Morris also left the team midway after suffering an injury while Mohammed Shami was distracted by off-field events.
“Our bowling has been depleted. We haven’t had Rabada here, he is injured. Morris is back home due to a back injury. Trent is doing really well. What happened to Shami is a shame. He is stuck up with personal stuff. Our spinners have been an issue although Mishi (Amit Mishra has been doing reasonably well,” said Hopes.
“They have two good spinners. Rashid had a bad night, he conceded 35 in four overs. That is a bad night! Shakib does it for Bangladesh year in and year out. They are very well-structured in the way they defend the total,” added Hopes.