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IPL 2017: It’s a do-or-die match for Delhi Daredevils and Gujarat Lions

The Indian Express logoThe Indian Express 04-05-2017

Buoyed by their clinical performance against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Tuesday night, Delhi Daredevils will be looking for another much-needed win when they take on the lacklustre Gujarat Lions at the Ferozshah Kotla on Thursday. After a string of five consecutive defeats, the Daredevils required to win five games in a row to stand a chance of making the playoffs. Mathematically, Rahul Dravid’s side is in the fray but they need other results to go their way as well.

(Indian T20 League  | Results | Fixtures | Points Table)

The reason for their plight in IPL 10 so far is their below-par batting that had failed to come good for the better part of the campaign.

However, the young batsmen showed glimpses of their potential during their chase against Hyderabad. While no one kicked on to play a big knock, Dravid will seek comfort from the fact that everyone chipped in with useful contributions, which ultimately took them past the finish line. Consequently, Karun Nair, Delhi’s stand-in captain, praised his young teammates for playing without fear despite struggling with form.

“We told ourselves, ‘we are a young team, and we should play like a young team. Go out there, play without fear’, and we just did that,” Nair said. As far as their bowling goes, leg-spinner Amit Mishra has been their go-to man especially in the period after the Powerplay. They are well stocked with fast bowling talent – including Kagiso Rabada, Mohammed Shami, Chris Morris and Pat Cummins – and whoever gets the nod for the crucial match needs to step up.

Was not intimidated by Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli: Gujarat Lions pacer Nathu Singh

Gujarat Lions, meanwhile, are all but out of the race as they are struggling in the second-last position with just six points from 10 games. Having finished an impressive third in their inaugural season last year, it has turned out to be a disappointing campaign for Suresh Raina’s team in 2017. Only a miracle will see them qualify for the playoffs.

Gujarat Lions is a batting-heavy side with the likes of Brendon McCullum, Ishan Kishan, Aaron Finch, Raina, Dwayne Smith and Dinesh Karthik in the line-up.

But more often than not, it is their inexperienced bowling unit which has cost the side big time in the ongoing IPL. Paceman Basil Thampi and leg-spinner Ankit Soni have been impressive, but others — including all-rounder James Faulkner and No.1-ranked Test bowler Ravindra Jadeja — have failed to live upto expectations.

Zaheer not recovered yet

Not having fully recovered from a hamstring injury, Zaheer Khan is unlikely to feature in Thursday’s encounter.

The Daredevils captain sat out the previous two games against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab as well, with Nair leading the team in his absence.

The veteran left-arm pacer pulled his hamstring during the match against Kolkata Knight Riders on April 28. “We continue to monitor Zaheer Khan on a day-to-day basis,” Delhi Daredevils said in a statement.

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