At this stage of the Indian Premier League, every team that faces Delhi Daredevils feels that the bottom-placed team is a “dangerous side” that has “nothing left to lose.”
In reality, the team has appeared far from dangerous and seems to be losing more with every defeat.
DD’s pride has taken a severe beating. Its players are low on confidence and skipper Mahela Jayawardene’s single biggest challenge now is to restore the self-belief of the team that has lost last eight matches, including two in the previous edition’s playoffs.
For a team down in the dumps, there is no better way to salvage its pride than beating a high-profile team. Theoretically, all is not lost for DD and it still has a chance to make the playoffs if it wins nine out of the remaining 10 matches.
It has the opportunity to make a fresh start when it faces Mumbai Indians here on Sunday. If DD manages to avenge the 44-run loss suffered at the Wankhede Stadium on April 9, it can well be on the redemption course.
Unlike DD, whose players have so far been consistently inconsistent – following its Super Over loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore with its lowest tally of 83 against Chennai Super Kings – MI has far more happily placed.
Though the mighty MI suffered the ignominy of being bowled out for 92 against Rajasthan Royals in its last match, it can afford to shake it off as just a bad day at work.
Ricky Ponting chose to look at the thumping defeat as a wake-up call. “It’s better to wake up early rather than late in the competition.”
MI, one of the title-favourites, could not have asked for a better team to test its ability to bounce back. The collective wisdom of coach John Wright, mentor Anil Kumble, captain Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar is adequate to lift the team’s spirit and repeat the bitter dose of defeat to DD.
After a narrow loss in the campaign-opener, the hat-trick of victories this season is testimony of MI ability to assert itself with vengeance. Ponting and Tendulkar are due to come good at the top of the order. The explosive power of Dinesh Karthik and Kieron Pollard can be relied upon where as Rohit Sharma and Rayudu are yet to be consistent. The bowling, after the hammering received at the hands of Rajasthan Royals, can be expected to redeem itself.
Overall, it is for DD to infuse some fresh excitement in the competition by pulling back MI.