Another year, another DC failure to win the game that matter

It was 2009. A franchise based in Delhi (Delhi Capitals [DC] now, Delhi Daredevils then) has reached the semi-finals of the Indian Premier League. They have collected 20 points from 14 games, losing only four games. Virender Sehwag led the side with distinction and there was a certain amount of excitement about them as well. So when the penultimate phase started, the IPL was named theirs to lose.

But then nothing went according to plan. In the semi-final against the now-defunct Deccan Chargers, they lost two rackets in the opening match. Then they crawled to 153/8 courtesy of Tillakaratne Dilshan and Sehwag, meaning they had something to deal with. Adam Gilchrist, however, ate up his goal for breakfast.

He sparkled his way with 35-ball 85 and before DC knew it, they were kicked out of IPL 2009. For many, it was that exit that prompted IPL to introduce a play-system. off – a system where such teams, who dominate the tournament stages, don’t suffer over a bad game.

In 2012, however, DD defied all those views. They finished in second place, played Kolkata Knight Riders in the Qualifiers at Pune and were short-term eliminated. They had another slice at the cherry but when they met the Chennai Super Kings, DC was stopped in their way.

In 2019, they decided to do things the hard way. They finished outside of the top two, but still made it through to Qualifier 2. Another day for CSK awaits and as you can guess by now, they’re not really giving their best. A year later, they actually made it to the final before succumbing to the Mumbai Indians.

So when they do launch the 2021 version, it looks like they’re on the verge of a massive hit. A season ago they were overrated by a stellar kit but now they know how much pressure it is and how they can overcome it. They also qualify as the highest ranked team in the tournament period. Two games later, they watch the summit clash between CSK and KKR.

This year they are not as good as in 2020 and 2021. The big auction means some players are leaving for newer pitches. The players entering the field also take some time to get used to their surroundings. But because the absolute winners are at their disposal, they still have their fates in their own hands before their final match against MI.

Poor DC in must win clash with MI

A win, even though Royal Challengers Bangalore fans support MI, would render all calculations futile. This is probably the simplest succinct statement DC can get. The only thing they have to take care of is their own performance. So it’s only fitting that they screw it up. Not because MI was special that night, but because DC, for lack of a better word, was pretty ordinary.

It started in the video game section when they lost three sockets. David Warner died in a loose state. Prithvi Shaw was almost cut off by Jasearch Bumrah. And Mitchell Marsh drove the distribution in the channel. Sarfaraz Khan followed up the power battle with another unnecessary jab from his body.

Rishabh Pant and Rovman Powell rebuilt the rounds and tried to project their inimitable flair on them. They also succeeded to an extent, setting up DC with a total in excess of 170.

But just as they were building momentum, Pant had a delivery fish that might have landed on the adjacent strip of land. It also occurs after 19 runs have been recorded in it over. Face off against Ramandeep Singh, the best part-time bowler. Then, Powell decided to leave his power game and try to wipe out Bumrah. The result is a stump uprooted.

It doesn’t end there. Lucky for RCB loyalists and unfortunate for DC fans. Pant dropped an absolute custodian to get MI momentum. Then he somehow screwed up a review despite appearing confident on the initial appeal. The hidden appeal, by the way, then featured Tim David – a hitter who eventually got DC kicked out of IPL 2022. To add to the movie, Pant then opted for an LBW review of a delivery. threw at least one foot beyond the stump.

There are many other errors. Khaleel Ahmed, like he has done for most of this season, has been breathing fire with the new ball. He let the ball touch his hand and caused Rohit Sharma’s heartache. Even so, he only managed to throw two balls at the top. The pacer was brought back at last and was subdued.

Among all this, there were also some fouls and a missed opportunity by Shardul Thakur – an opportunity that could have been captured if he were stationed on the fence instead of five yards away from it. Separately, each seems to be a mistake that can happen to anyone. No single cricketer that is intentionally beaten and deeply aware can be the best captain/coach/expert ever to play the sport.

Last year in Qualifiers, Rishabh put Tom Curran in the final instead of Rabada and that cost DC dearly. And tonight he’s not watching Tim David’s arrest behind the scenes. Two decisions he will regret immensely. DC fans must be wondering what could happen.. #MIvDC # IPL2022

But if you’re in the DC camp, and such negligent things keep happening in clutch situations, you’ll start to wonder if there’s a mental hurdle they need to overcome. It’s not like they don’t have a squad capable of making it to the playoffs. It’s just that they almost always don’t win the big moments.

Not just in 2009. Or 2012. Or 2019, 2020 and 2021. Also in 2022. That’s quite a long sample space to keep making the same mistakes. The match against MI is the important game this season for DC. And they lost. However, the heartbreaking part is that this is not even an aberration anymore.


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Emma Bowman

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