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Pune, Delhi play for pride

May 19, 2013 09:43 IST

It will be a battle to avoid the wooden spoon when laggards Pune Warriors and Delhi Daredevils meet for one last time in the 2013 season of the Pepsi Indian Premier League, in Pune, on Sunday.

Already out of contention for a berth in the knock-out stage, the teams will play only for pride. The two bottom- placed teams had a disastrous tournament and will be looking to sign off on a winning note.

On the points' table there is not much difference between the teams as both have won three of their 15 matches and have six points each, but Delhi are placed higher by the virtue of net-run-rate.

Yuvraj SinghPune Warriors snapped their nine-match losing streak by stunning defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in their previous match and they will take a lot of confidence from that win going into this clash.

They will look to avoid finishing at the same position they held last year.

The Warriors' batting fired in unison against the title holders in the previous game, as Manish Pandey (66), skipper Aaron Finch (48) and Yuvraj Singh (30) guided Pune to a competitive total of 170.

The Pune franchise will hope that the good batting show continues, as throughout the series their batsmen have struggled. Barring skipper Aaron Finch, who scored three half-centuries, and to some extent Robin Uthappa, other Pune batsmen have failed miserably.

The biggest disappointment is Yuvraj Singh, who has scored only 235 runs in 12 games; one would expect the explosive batsman to strike some of those big hits he is renowned for.

Their latest signing this year, all-rounder Abhishek Nayar flopped with the bat and has aggregated just 66 runs in nine innings.

Bowling at the death is haunting Pune as they have been leaking runs consistently in the last few overs.

Pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Wayne Parnell  bowled decent spells against KKR and will be eager to make early inroads.

Leg spinner Rahul Sharma has also provided useful contributions in the middle.

Leading wicket-taker for the Pune outfit Ashoke Dinda (14 wickets) has been expensive and given away 444 runs in 12 matches.

Yusuf PathanOn the other hand, the Daredevils, the first team to book their place at play-offs last year, are a pale shadow this year and will be eager to end the listless performance.

The top order has failed for inexplicable reasons.

Neither Virender Sehwag nor captain Mahela Jayawardene have lived up to reputations.

Except the one outing against Mumbai Indians where he scored an unbeaten 95, the senior Indian player hasn't had much to contribute in the other games.

Australian left-hander David Warner is the only spark in the Delhi batting outfit and played a lone hand in most of the games. Warner has scored 408 runs in 15 matches.

The bowling has been equally lacklustre and the death overs have hurted them, which was evident in the previous game against Kings XI Punjab, where they conceded 68 runs in the last five overs.

Last year's leading wicket-taker Morne Morkel has been struggling to pick wickets and has scalped just seven in nine games.

The likes of Irfan Pathan, Ashish Nehra, Umesh Yadav and Shahbaz Nadeem need to rattle the opposition early.

Photograph: BCCI

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