As the Delhi Daredevils trooped in for an optional practice session,a day before they play the Pune Warriors at the Sahara Stadium in what is their last game of the season,a sense of resignation seemingly pervaded over the players.
Pune too had wrapped up a practice session earlier in just about an hour. For both teams,Sundays match holds little promise. A win for Pune will allow them to climb over Delhi and finish second-last,an improvement nevertheless considering that they brought up the rear last season. Delhi have struggled to replicate the consistency that saw them top the table last season and have just three wins to show from 15 games.
Punes home record continued to be poor with 12 losses from 16 games.
Without Kevin Pietersen,who made 308 runs in the eight innings he played last season,Delhi were expected to struggle,but the meltdown has been worse than expected. The experiment of dropping David Warner and Virender Sehwag down the order hasnt changed the teams fortunes. The side has struggled to put big runs on the board as they have crossed 160 just six times in 15 matches and have been bowled out for less that 100 twice. It didnt help Delhis cause that South African pacer Morne Morkels form dipped. Morkels 25 wickets at 21.80 in the 2012 season played a big part in Delhis winning run. However,this year,he has picked up just seven wickets at an average of 42.71.
Delhi as well as Pune have big squads but switching personnel,and in the latters case,the captain didnt help change their fortunes. Aaron Finch,who replaced Angelo Mathews as skipper,and Robin Uthappa have been the only bright spots for the Warriors in a dismal season.
Both batsmen have given the team blazing starts at the top of the order but the middle order has failed. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been consistently performing with the ball,but has received little help from the other end.