Cricket

Delhi, Hyderabad desperate for points

India's Shikhar Dhawan walks off the field during team's training session ahead of their Cricket World Cup match against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)

India's Shikhar Dhawan walks off the field during team's training session ahead of their Cricket World Cup match against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, England, Wednesday, June 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Aijaz Rahi)   | Photo Credit: Aijaz Rahi

The cold conditions in the capital city put the visitors in a distinct disadvantage

Two struggling former champions — Delhi and Hyderabad — face-off here on Christmas Day in search of some vital points to stay in contention for a knockout-spot in this season’s Ranji Trophy championship.

In two rounds, Delhi has one point to show after escaping with a draw against Kerala and a loss to Andhra. Hyderabad lost to Punjab and Gujarat to bring up the rear of the points table.

Delhi, hosting its first match of the competition, hopes to make the most of the services of skipper Shikhar Dhawan and Ishant Sharma.

Saini available

However, though Navdeep Saini was available for the match, he indicated on Tuesday that he preferred to rest before the matches against Sri Lanka. The trio will not be available for Delhi’s next match against host Punjab.

India's Ishant Sharma tosses a ball during the third day of the second test cricket match between India and Bangladesh, in Kolkata, India, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)

India's Ishant Sharma tosses a ball during the third day of the second test cricket match between India and Bangladesh, in Kolkata, India, Sunday, Nov. 24, 2019. (AP Photo/Bikas Das)   | Photo Credit: Bikas Das

 

With cold conditions prevailing in the Capital, and the breeze making it worse, Hyderabad players begin with a distinct disadvantage.

That apart, Hyderabad can draw solace from the fact that though Dhawan and Ishant are back, the opener has not done anything of note this season in white ball cricket while the speedster is returning from injury. How an understandably cautious Ishant copes up with the workload remains to be seen.

So far, the batsmen of Delhi and Andhra have proved a big let-down.

While Hyderabad has not crossed 300 in four innings so far — 76 was its lowest — Delhi has crossed the figure just once to salvage a draw against Kerala.

Delhi’s bowling and fielding has been the worst-hit areas so far. In allowing Kerala and Andhra to stack up impressive scores in the first innings, the dropped catches — specially in the slip-cordon — played a big part.

In spite of Delhi’s below-par performances so far, coach K.P. Bhaskar was optimistic of the team getting its act together this week. “Playing at home always helps and with Shikhar and Ishant back for a game, I expect Delhi to perform to its potential.

“I understand that this Delhi has several young players and with time, they should mature into cricketers worthy of playing at the highest level.”

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:23:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/delhi-hyderabad-desperate-for-points/article30390887.ece

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