Mumbai, April 17: The Delhi Daredevils have their backs against the wall. They could be looking at remaining stranded at the bottom of the table unless they pull out an exceptional performance against the Pune Warriors India. But PWI which has been touted as the "team to beat" this IPL will be looking for their third successive win.
The Daredevils, despite going down to the Mumbai Indians and the Rajasthan Royals in chronological order, showed marked improvement between the first and second match, especially where their batting is concerned.
The deplorable performance of the line-up seemed to have been repeating itself, with the Daredevils falling to 4/40 and 4/36, but in the latter case it took the heroics of surviving opener David Warner and middle-order man Venugopal Rao to revive the innings and post a decent total of 151 (compared to the 95 all out in the first match). Now, it is high time their other premier batters in Virender Sehwag, Aaron Finch and Unmukt Chand, collectively averaging under 20, step up to the plate.
Pune's batsmen on the other hand, appear to be playing as a unit. There have been no half-centuries in their two matches - against the Kings XI Punjab and the Kochi Tuskers Kerala - but plenty of batsman making scores in the 20s and 30s. Does this mean that the strength could also imply a vulnerability and that they are prone to a collapse as well?
It will be up to Delhi's bowlers to probe that possibility. Morne Morkel who recorded perhaps the most ecobomical figures in the match against the Royals with 1/11 in 4 overs will need to turn to his far more
expensive fellow pacemen in Ashok Dinda and Irfan Pathan for steady support.
Meanwhile, there is room for improvement for Pune's bowlers as well. The pace trio of Wayen Parnell, Alfonso Thomas and Shrikanth Wagh have taken 10 wickets between them in two matches. But spinners like Murali Karthik
and Rahul Sharma have not been among the wickets.