The Delhi Daredevils (DD) has been one of the most exciting teams in IPL. However, since the 2013 IPL season, DD has failed to make it beyond the league stages. In past, they have made the playoffs in IPL 2008, IPL 2009 and IPL 2012.
In IPL 2017, DD finished at the sixth position in the points table. Delhi has been competitive throughout the IPL since 2013, but bad luck and losses at inopportune moments in the tournament have caused them qualification for the playoffs.
In IPL 2018 auctions, DD bought back Gautam Gambhir and made him captain. They had previously retained Rishabh Pant, Chris Morris and Shreyas Iyer in pre-auction retention. They got some big names like Glenn Maxwell, Trent Boult, Jason Roy, Colin Munro and Kagiso Rabada in the auction, in order to strengthen their bid for title claim.
Here are 5 such players on whom Delhi Daredevils will bank on to win the IPL 2018 title:
Gautam Gambhir makes his return to his home franchise after 7 years with KKR. Gautam Gambhir made his IPL debut for Delhi in IPL 2008 and also captained the team in IPL 2010. Gambhir has been a prolific scorer in IPL, without being flashy.
Gambhir has scored 4132 runs in 148 IPL matches with the highest score of 93 and strike rate of 124.60. He has scored 35 fifties and has 483 fours to his name. As a run scorer, he might not be as aggressive as others, but he has the ability to bat through the innings and other hitters can be planned around him and he can control the game. This was missing from DD team in last few seasons, a batsman who could bat through the innings.
Gambhir will also be responsible for recreating the magic of captaincy, which he showed for the KKR, winning the IPL title twice in 2012 and 2014 respectively.
Gautam Gambhir is not the only cricketer making his return to the DD franchise, Glenn Maxwell too makes his return to the franchise, for which he made his IPL debut in 2012.
Since then, Maxwell has gone on to play for the Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab, who bought him in 2014 IPL auction and also captained them. Maxwell scored 552 runs in IPL 2014 and 310 runs in IPL 2017 for KXIP.
DD will hope that Maxwell continues his form for them as well. Maxwell’s hitting abilities are well known and DD might look to open with him since Maxwell has done it in various T20 leagues around the world.
Kagiso Rabada might be facing some problems during the Test series against Australia, but he made sure of South Africa making a grand comeback into the series. Rabada played only 6 matches for DD in IPL 2017 but showed his class and speed in those matches.
Given that he bowls close to 150 kmph for most of the time, he can let it really go when he knows he will be bowling just 4 overs in the match and not more than two or three at one time. Rabada has all the tricks in the bag, but since he has the speed, yorkers and bouncers are his biggest assets.
Rabada also showed that he can wield the long handle, with his highest score of 44 for DD. Rabada playing a full season of IPL for DD may very well change the fortune of the team in the IPL 2018.
Rishabh Pant was retained by the Delhi Daredevils for IPL 2018. He smacked 366 runs in IPL 2017 with the highest score of 97 and a strike rate of 151.20, hitting 24 sixes in the process.
Pant is an extraordinary talent who knows his strengths. His weakness is that he does not know when to take his game a notch down, and go for singles and doubles. The owner of the second fastest T20 century, off just 32 balls, Pant plays in just one gear. When it comes off, it looks spectacular and mesmerizing. When it doesn’t, you get a season like IPL 2017, where he either fired off or fizzled out.
However, in IPL 2018, he will have the calmer and senior players like Gambhir, Munro and Maxwell and coach Ponting to guide him and realize his true potential and lead DD into the playoffs.
South African Chris Morris was a surprise retention by the Delhi franchise for the IPL 2018 season. Morris is more known for his big hitting prowess. His strike rate of 165.66 in IPL overall, answers his retention by Delhi in the first place.
He also has 53 wickets in 48 matches for Delhi Daredevils and as an all-rounder, Morris provides tremendous value to the Delhi team and gives them the opportunity to have a better team balance. He bowls in high 130 kmph bracket and is often used as an opening bowler.
Morris will prove to be a vital cog in the Delhi scheme of things, as they begin their journey to win the IPL 2018.