Zaheer Khan has marshalled his Delhi Daredevils troops brilliantly, and is looking for their fourth straight win in IPL 2016, which will see them go level on points with the Gujarat Lions and the Kolkata Knight Riders. However, their climb to the top will not be easy as they face the in-form Gujarat Lions at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi.
The Gujarat Lions have a balanced side in IPL 2016, with some quality all-rounders and strong batsmen. Delhi Daredevils, on the other hand, might be too dependent on players like Quinton de Kock, JP Duminy, Imran Tahir and Amit Mishra to emerge victorious.
Here is a look at how the IPL 2016 game might go.
If GL bat first: Chasing might be a bit tricky in Delhi, where the pitch is expected to be slow.
The Gujarat Lions openers – Brendon McCullum and Dwayne Smith -- start off with some lusty blows to the fence during the Powerplay, and Zaheer brings his spinners into action after the score reads 62 in six overs. Imran Tahir and Amit Mishra plugs the scoring rate, and the South African bowler dismisses both the openers in his second over. The Indian pair of Suresh Raina and Dinesh Karthik play the spinners with comfort. Karthik, especially, looks busy, playing the slog sweep with success for a couple of sixes, but he loses his wicket in the 14th over. With five overs to go, Raina unleashes his shots, but the other batsmen fail to support him, and the Lions end with 161 runs on the board.
Delhi Daredevils suffer an unfortunate start as Shreyas Iyer heads back to the pavilion for a duck. Things look worse for Delhi, who lose their second wicket in the form of Sanju Samson in the fourth over. The score reads 28 for two wickets down. The two South African batsmen, de Kock and Duminy look comfortable at the batting crease, going at seven runs per over, but the opener goes, which puts pressure on the other batsmen. Ravindra Jadeja uses the pitch to his advantage, and removes Karun Nair and Pawan Negi in succession. Despite a good innings from Duminy, scoring 47 runs, Delhi lose their second match of IPL 2016.
If DD bat first: The GL bowlers look clueless as De Kock takes the attack to the opposition, playing some exquisite cover drives and lofted shots, to help them reach 50 in the first six overs. There is no way De Kock is going slow down in the middle overs, as he plays some wonderful shots against the spinners as well. With De Kock looking so great, one has failed to notice Iyer struggling at the other end, and is out in the eighth over for 18 runs. After such a good start, Duminy is promoted up the order and the two South Africans spank the GL bowlers to all parts of the ground, before losing their wickets in the 15th and 16th over. Delhi Daredevils, nevertheless, put a huge total of 173 runs after a late flourish from Pawan Negi.
McCullum and Smith raise hope for the visitors with some fours and sixes in the opening overs of the second innings. Zaheer, sensing the danger, brings on Mishra, who immediately removes McCullum, but Smith is still in his zone. The way he is batting, Gujarat Lions look favourites, but wickets keep falling at the other end. Now, Smith also goes back to the dugout after a well-made 60 runs, and the home team lose their last four wickets for 20 runs, and are all out for 149 runs. Tahir does most of the damage, picking up three wickets.