Daredevils hold edge over wobbly Mumbai Indians

Published: Saturday, May 3, 2008, 3:35 [IST]
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Mumbai: The hosts Mumbai Indians have their task cut out when they take on the rampaging Delhi Daredevils in the DLF Indian Premier League league tie at the D Y Patil stadium in Navi Mumbai here on Sunday.

Delhi Daredevils, led by the swashbuckler Virender Sehwag, will be looking to continue their winning form against a wobbly Mumbai Indians in hot and humid conditions.

The home team has sorely missed its captain and injured icon Sachin Tendulkar in their first five matches and the none-too-encouraging news is the master batsman hasn't recovered from groin injury.

A lot hinges on Tendulkar's availability for the tie if Mumbai Indians are to stun the high-flying Delhi outfit in the inaugural Twenty20 League.

Tendulkar played a practice match yesterday after a month or so. The batting maestro fielded and batted and looked at ease.

He is to take a final call on whether he is fit to play the match only 'morrow and the hosts are hoping fervently for his mere presence in the field which would motivate Mumbai outfit to fare better.

In his absence, the team has struggled to put decent totals on board and strike at opportune times to put the opposition under pressure.

The end result is that Mumbai Indians, for which Reliance Industries had paid the highest bid amount among all eight teams, are currently languishing at the bottom.

Only a marginally superior net run-rate is keeping them above cellar team Bangalore Royal Challengers.

The batting has flopped by and large, shown by the fact that Robin Uthappa who is yet to make a half-century is the leading scorer for the team with 155 runs under his belts.

 The West Indian all rounder Dwayne Bravo regained some lost touch with the willow in their previous tie at Kolkata is a morale booster for the beleaguered team.

But other top-notch international stars like Sanath Jayasuriya, bought for a little less than a million dollars, has flattered only to deceive at the top-order. Stand-in captain Shaun Pollock, already retired from international cricket, has tried his level best without much success to keep the team going.

The booting out of the performing Harbhajan Singh from the tournament has left the team short on spin skills too and it has been left to the vastly experienced Jayasuriya to lead the slow bowling attack with his crafty left-arm spin.

With the youngsters in the team failing, barring the spunky all-rounder Abhishek Nayar, the team has scored only one victory in five ties, against Kolkata Knight Riders, which should galvanise it to take on the well-balanced Delhi outfit.

Delhi, on the other hand, have their top-order functioning like a well-oiled machine with Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan all coming good.

They have a sound middle order too with the likes of AB de Villiers, Rajat Bhatia and Mithun Manhas to bail out team if the batters up the order fail to deliver the goods.

The pace attack is top-class with Australian great Glenn McGrath, a largely unwanted man at the auction despite his fabulous record in international cricket, and the highly talented Pakistani Mohammad Asif spearheading it to a nicety.

Lankan Farvez Maharoof, a genuine swing bowler, young left-arm bowler Pradeep Sangwan and Tamil Nadu's V Yomahesh add variety to the strong pace attack.

Another factor that could play a big role is the intense heat and humidity as the match is to be played 1600 hrs onwards, the first in Mumbai after two night games on April 20 and 27, against Bangalore and Deccan Chargers of Hyderabad.

Going into the game and with the current form Delhi Daredevils start as firm favourites against down but not out Mumbai Indians.


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