Facing an early exit after their sixth loss in eight games, bottom-placed Delhi Daredevils, under new skipper Shreyas Iyer, will have to treat each upcoming IPL game as a virtual knock-out, starting with their clash against Rajasthan Royals, in Delhi, on Wednesday.
After Gautam Gambhir stepped down as captain following a string of defeats, Iyer was entrusted the responsibility of guiding the team to the play-offs and the young skipper did score a 40-ball unbeaten 93 to power his side to a massive 55-run victory over Kolkata Knight Riders to renew hopes of a turnaround.
But Monday night's 13-run loss to Chennai Super Kings almost dashed all hopes of a comeback and Iyer has an uphill task of inspiring his team in the remaining matches to salvage hope of staying alive in the tournament.
An awful mix-up ended Iyer's innings on Monday and it proved to be the turning point of the match.
Despite a 45-ball 79 from Rishabh Pant and an unbeaten 31-ball 54 from Vijay Shankar, Delhi fell short by 13 runs against Chennai's 211-4.
Iyer and Pant have done the bulk of the scoring for Delhi, amassing 306 and 257 runs respectively so far and the onus will be on the duo to lead the batting unit on Wednesday.
Among the bowlers, Trent Boult has been among the wickets, claiming 11 scalps so far but he did not get support from the rest. It resulted in their failure to defend totals, putting their batting under pressure.
Shankar said they are doing most things right but small mistakes have resulted in losses.
"We, as a team, are doing well, but it is the small things which is changing the entire result of the game," he said.
"We were chasing 80 from six overs or something against Chennai; we got close to the target, lost by 13 runs. We tried our best and we would look to move forward from this and look to do better and build ourselves into a good team," he added.
Rajasthan Royals are placed fifth in the table with six points from seven matches.
Ajinkya Rahane's team has been inconsistent this season, as often a win has been followed by a loss and they will also have to find a way to stem the rot if they have to make it to the play-offs.
Their failure to chase down a target of 151-7 against Sunrisers Hyderabad saw them lose the match by 11 runs. That despite Rahane scoring a 65 and Sanju Samson hitting a 40.
Rahane and Samson have been their best batsmen this season but the inconsistent run of Ben Stokes and Jos Butler has affected their showing this season.
Among the bowlers, young seamer Jofra Archer has done well to claim six wickets in the two matches that he has played so far. But RR's spinners Shreyas Gopal and K Gowtham failed to bother the batsmen much, taking five wickets each.
Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett, Junior Dala.
Rajasthan Royals: Ajinkya Rahane (Captain), Ankit Sharma, Anureet Singh, Jofra Archer, Stuart Binny, Aryaman Birla, Jos Buttler, Dushmantha Chameera, Prashant Chopra, Shreyas Gopal, Krishnappa Gowtham, Heinrich Klaasen, Dhawal Kulkarni, Ben Laughlin, Mahipal Lomror, Sudhesan Midhun, Sanju Samson, Jatin Saxena, D'Arcy Short, Ish Sodhi, Ben Stokes, Rahul Tripathi, Jaydev Unadkat.
Match starts: 2000 IST