In its quest to enter the final for the first time and lift the title that has eluded it over the last nine years, Delhi Daredevils (DD) is hoping to tame hosts Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) for a winning start in the 2017 Indian Premier League (IPL-10 T20) Tournament, here on Saturday.
“Realistically, in T20 anything can happen on any given day. What we are looking for is to put in place our preparation and execute our plans to start the season on a winning note,” DD Head Coach Paddy Upton told media persons here ahead of the tie.
As only one team wins in any format of the game, the former South African player said the team was focused more on processes and roles of each player for the long season ahead and qualifying for the semis after 14 league ties.
“What is important for us is to set ourselves for the best possible chance to win the first game and have the result go our way in every game we play over the next six weeks. We are not really focused on winning or losing but getting into the rhythm for the season and make to the play-offs,” asserted Upton.
Even as RCB bets on home advantage to bounce back after losing its first tie to Sun Risers Hyderabad by 35 runs on Wednesday in Hyderabad, DD is pinning on its seasoned players to take on the hosts in the absence of South Africans J P Duminy and Quinton de Kock, Sri Lankan Angelo Mathews and Shreyas Iyer.
Duminy pulled out this season for personal reasons, while de Kock and Iyer are recovering from injury and Mathews is waiting for the Lankan board’s clearance to join the team soon.
“We are fortunate that the squad we selected has a strong back-up though it is a blow not to have Duminy this season and Angelo, Quinton and Iyer for this game. We have a good back-up not to compromise on the team’s composition. We have Sam Billings and Sanju Samson at the top, Cory Anderson, Karun Nair and Craig Brathwaite in the middle for the slog overs,” reiterated Upton.
With skipper Zaheer Khan fit and raring to bowl, the Daredevils are counting on its ace spinner Amit Mishra and pacer Mohammed Shami to lead the bowling attack.
DD’s wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant, though bereaved by the loss of his father on Wednesday, joined the team on Friday to keep the wickets in the tie.