IPL: Kevin Pietersen and Delhi Daredevils Need to Take Action, Not Wait for Form

Christopher HeathmanCorrespondent IIMay 7, 2014

Kevin Pietersen of Delhi Daredevils leaves the field, out for 50 runs, during their Twenty20 semi-final against the Highveld Lions in Durban, South Africa, Thursday, Oct 25, 2012. (AP Photo)
Str/Associated Press

Delhi Daredevils slumped to yet another defeat as Kolkata Knightriders ran out comfortable winners by eight wickets, with more than an over to spare.

After a horror showing with bat, in the field and with the ball—instead of waiting for form to come—it is time for changes to be made.

South African Quinton de Kock is certainly one of the best young talents in the IPL, but the opening partnership only lasted until the third over when de Kock hit a poor shot down the ground and into the hands of Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir. The 21 year-old walked and on came Pietersen, who needed to rekindle some form.

It was evident from the first ball, however, that KP was uncomfortable at the crease and left arm spinner Shakib Al Hasan of the Knightriders had him under pressure.

The only highlight of Pietersen’s short stint came when he hit Sunil Narine for four. But in the following over he was ran out due to poor running from KP himself, which left Robin Uthappa to take out the wickets.

After a poor powerplay, the Daredevils were on 29/2 and needing a bail out from their remaining batsman to be in with a shout, or they would have to rely on the bowlers.

Dinesh Karthick tried to mount a comeback by making 36 from 22 balls, but was out just as he started building momentum. The job was then left to Jean-Paul Duminy, but the job was already too big, even for him.

The Daredevils’ in-form batsman Duminy made 40 from 28 balls not out to help his side to a mediocre 160.

Poor bowling and some shambolic fielding aided Kolkata in their run chase and added to the woes of the Daredevils and Pietersen.

Delhi now needs to turn its fortunes around. Pietersen played down the idea of changing the batting order post-match, which suggests KP wants to wait for his own form to improve. The strategy—which can work in leagues and tournaments spread out over a longer period of time—might not pay off in a more condensed format like the IPL the games, where losses can pile up fast.

The obvious step to take is to bring JP Duminy up in the order. The risk which comes with that move would be losing your best batsman too early, when he could provide Daredevils with a strong finish to their innings.

But as was proved in the loss to Kolkata, bringing Duminy in too late can mean he runs out of time and is limited to 40 runs.

A change in the batting line-up can pay-off, especially at the top of the order. Knightriders are a prime example for and against change, but their last two games have seen results.

The combination of Gambhir and Uthappa is the fourth different combination used by Kolkata this season. Against Rajasthan Royals and Delhi Daredevils this partnership knocked up more than 100 runs, making it the first partnership in IPL history to make a century in two successive games.

If Daredevils can give Duminy the time by moving him further up the order so he has to scope to make 70 rather than 40, Delhi will have a much better platform and results will come.