Devils flex muscles after semi-final berth
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A Seven-a-Side soccer match that a few players found hard to come to terms with, a brief fielding session, the hardest hitter in the side asking for a few throw-balls on the full, and frequent water-breaks to beat the scorching sun, summed up the Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla a day after the Mumbai Indians gifted them a semi-final berth by losing to Rajasthan Royals.
The mood was defined at the very outset as Delhi side took to the beautiful game of football instead of gearing up for a gruelling net session. A few somersaults, some missed kicks, and bowling spearhead Glenn McGrath throwing his cap on the ball to distract the strikers in the imaginary penalty box, exposed their frail identity as footballers. The match lasted a mere 15 minutes and then the focus shifted to some fielding drills.
Amidst all this, the star underperformers such as Shoaib Malik, Tilekratne Dilshan and Mohammd Asif did some serious drills under the vigilance of coach Greg Shipperd. Some experts feel that the potential of these players, if translated into action, can make the Daredevils the most dangerous of the teams in the semi-finals, especially with the likes of McGrath, Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag in form. Their on-paper strength, though, hasn't quite clicked collectively till now.
"Ours is the best side now and we have to believe this if we are to face Rajasthan or Punjab in the semi-final. However, neither will have the edge as Twenty20 is a game of momentary changes," captain Sehwag said.
The skipper didn't play a very active part in the practice session, asking a couple of fringe players for full tosses that he bludgeoned. His opening partner, orange-cap holder and Delhi's batting mainstay Gambhir, didn't turn up for practice at all.
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