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Chargers ready for Daredevils challenge

In last year’s inaugural season of the DLF Indian Premier League the Delhi Daredevils had managed to win a mere seven league games out of 14 to scrape into the fourth semi-final spot by a single point.

But this time around in Season 2009 of the DLF IPL here in South Africa the Delhi Daredevils seems to be on fire having collected seven victories in their first nine matches to top the league table at the start of the fourth week.

Thus, with a a Semi Final place virtually guaranteed with five more games to play, the Delhi Daredevils face the third-placed Deccan Chargers in Durban on Wednesday on what could well prove to be a very important league encounter for the Adam Gilchrist – Deccan Chargers.

The secret of the Delhi Daredevils’ success so far is having several players in form, and maintaining an excellent win ratio even without the services of their injured captain Virender Sehwag in recent matches. Interestingly, the inform Delhi Daredevils are yet to call on the services of Australians Glenn McGrath and Andrew McDonald, with even the New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori missing the last few games due to selection preferences.

The foreign players for the Delhi Dardevils namly AB de Villiers, TM Dilshan and David Warner have contributed significantly with the bat, with De Villiers rising to fifth in the Orange Cap standings for highest run-scorers in the league after Sunday’s win over the Kolkata Knight Riders.

On Monday in Kimberley the Deccan Chargers had thumped the Rajasthan Royals by 53 runs, and it will be interesting to see if they keep their winning eleven intact. For that match the Deccan Chargers had left out Herschelle Gibbs for Dwayne Smith, and brought in Chaminda Vaas for Ryan Harris. The “horses for courses” selection policy paid off, though, with Smith producing a big knock of 47 on the night and Vaas striking with his first ball after two months without any game-time.

The Sri Lankan grabbed 2-19 and contributed a valuable 20 runs with the bat. The key aspect which Vaas got right first up was to vary his pace on a slowish Kimberley wicket, which was quite similar to conditions in the subcontinent. Vaas secret was: “Vary the pace and bowl a lot of slower balls”.

Deccan Chargers captain Adam Gilchrist admitted it was difficult to know which foreign players to select, with Gibbs having starred as the side started the tournament with four wins in succession, before the team and batsman experienced a bit of a slump. A bonus has been the form of Aussie all-rounder Andrew Symonds, who has hit 60 not out and 30 in his two innings to date.

The Delhi Daredevils incidentally have won all of their previous three clashes against the Deccan Chargers, including two last year in 2008, the victory this season being by the margin of six wickets at Centurion 12 days ago.

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