The IPL points table is bunching up and Monday’s match features two middle-ranking teams who recently arrested their respective slumps with vital wins. The Delhi Daredevils entertain Sourav Ganguly’s Kolkata Knight Riders at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium in Delhi on Monday night. A victory for either side will put their IPL campaigns right on track where as a defeat may start another of those dreaded losing streaks, which both teams will be desperate to avoid.
Venue and Conditions:
The Feroz Shah Kotla achieved notoriety last December when a one-day game between India and Sri Lanka was called off after twenty-three overs due to an unsafe pitch. But fast bowlers who were anticipating having some fun in Delhi have been disappointed in the tournament so far. In the first game, Mumbai piled up 218 and in the second, Chennai easily overhauled the home side’s total of 185. The pitch is flat and true and offers very little for bowlers of any description.
Delhi will be desperately hoping that their two injured players will be fit for this game. Without Asish Nehra, the bowling looks threadbare and Captain Gautam Gambhir’s steadying influence at the top of the order is sorely missed. Their other decision is whether to recall Tillakaratne Dilshan, who was dropped for the last two games.
Kolkata have options but may decide to stick with a winning team. David Hussey has gone straight into the team at the expense of Owais Shah and is sure to be given a decent run. Charl Langeveldt and Ajantha Mendis don’t look like getting a game any time soon but they consider drafting in spinner Murali Karthik.
These teams secured vital wins last time out, but of the two victories, Delhi’s was the more impressive, overcoming an in-form Bangalore side with a solid all-round batting display. Injuries to Gambhir and Nehra, combined with the loss of form of A B De Villiers and Dilshan have seriously weakened them and their familiar lack of lower order hitting has compounded the problem. It was encouraging then that De Villiers hit 45 against Bangalore and Kedar Jadhav contributed a promising half-century down the order. They are not yet back to their best, but they may be over the worst, although they will be desperate to get Gambhir fit as soon as possible.
Kolkata’s nosedive was caused by a lack of dynamism with the bat and Captain Sourav Ganguly and Owais Shah were most often cited as the guilty parties. However, Shah has lost his place and Ganguly silenced critics with a steady fifty as they overcame Punjab on Saturday, with Manoj Tiwary providing the impetus. Chris Gayle is yet to really fire at the top of the order, but is slowly coming to hand and the addition of David Hussey to the ranks will boost their firepower even further. Their bowling, led by Shane Bond, is not the greatest in the tournament but it is a match for Delhi’s.
David Warner: The Aussie hit man has been in sizzling form in IPL 3. He has provided breezy starts at the top for his team and looks like taking the game away from the opposition every time he comes into bat.
Chris Gayle: the West Indian captain is yet to fire for the Kolkata Knight Riders in the three seasons of IPL so far but given the good form he is in at the moment, he can really tear the Delhi bowling apart.
RCB vs. DD – DD won by 17 runs
DC vs. DD – DC won by 10 runs
DD vs. CSK – CSK won by 5 wickets
DD vs. MI – MI won by 98 runs
RR vs. DD – DD won by 6 wickets
KXIP vs. KKR – KKR won by 39 runs
MI vs. KKR – MI won by 7 wickets
RR vs. KKR – RR won by 34 runs
KKR vs. CSK – CSK won by 55 runs
KKR vs. RCB – KKR won by 7 wickets
The Daredevils hold a 2-1 advantage over the Knight Riders in terms of victories in the IPLs. KKR won their home game in the inaugural edition by 23 runs with the reverse fixture being abandoned due to rain. In IPL-2 however, Delhi got the better of their rivals both in Durban by 9 wickets and in Johannesburg by 7 wickets.
Both teams come into this crucial match with identical form and with not much to really chose between them. If both teams can churn out the performances that they produced in their last matches, we are in for a cracker of a contest.
This fixture was rained off in 2008 which meant that Kolkata’s hopes of reaching the semi-finals of the first IPL were dashed.