Sunday’s second IPL game is a straightforward affair in which the winners are guaranteed a place in the semi-finals. Pre tournament favourites Delhi will take on reigning champions Deccan. This is a fascinating contest between two teams who have got their acts together in time to be in with a chance of the semi-finals.
Venue and Conditions:
Pitches have deteriorated as the tournament has gone on and the Feroz Shah Kotla seems to have suffered the most. Delhi was skittled out for 111 here last time on a slow track that offered variable bounce and prodigious turn.
Delhi’s worry is indifferent form of their top order batsmen particularly explosive opener Virender Sehwag. He has not done much damage so far and the attacking batsman would love to break the shackles. If he gets going, nothing could be better than that for Delhi. Skipper Gautam Gambhir has played a vital role in keeping the team in contention and the youngster would surely be aiming to see his side through tomorrow.
Going by present form, Delhi’s chances rest on a good show by their bowlers, especially their opening fast bowlers Dirk Nannes and Ashish Nehra and spinner Amit Mishra.
Delhi will surely recall Daniel Vettori on this pitch but they will have a tough call over which of their overseas players to drop and it could be that Tillakaratne Dilshan returns to the bench after the briefest of recalls.
Deccan have been a settled unit in recent games and their only real decision is whether to bring back Herschelle Gibbs in favour of Mitchell Marsh. Delhi have their task cut out as Deccan’s young players like Rohit Sharma and T Suman, guarding the middle-order, have the capability of decimating any attack. Together with their Australian import Andrew Symonds both Rohit and Suman have played an important part in their stunning comeback from the dumps.
Delhi bowlers will have to see that these players do not settle. The way Rohit guided his side to win over Kings XI Punjab and his skipper termed him as Mr Reliable, the visitors would hope the young batsman yet again rise to occasion.
Symonds too is in red-hot form and has contributed in the revival of their fortunes. The worrying factor though is prolonged poor run of their skipper Adam Gilchrist, who would be keen to make a mark in the crucial match.
Delhi has some big hitters in their squad, their most reliable batsman has been Captain Gautam Gambhir. Deccan’s Indian batsmen have been in fine form and either Rohit Sharma or Tirumalasetti Suman looks the best.
Virender Sehwag is the tournament’s most economical bowler, his five overs going for just 4.05 runs apiece.
In what is likely to be an edgy, low-scoring affair, the visitor has edge over host. There are reasons to favor the visitors. On a tricky pitch, batting form is crucial and there is no doubt that Deccan has the edge here. Although Adam Gilchrist has not been in blazing form, the rest of the lineup have raised their game and they look a far more solid batting order than Delhi, for whom Virender Sehwag has fired only fitfully.
None of the two teams would like to leave its fate on mathematical equations and would go for the kill. The fans can look forward to a good contest between Deccan’s strong batting and Delhi’s stinging bowling. Victory could well go to the team that best keeps their nerve and previous IPL history suggests that Delhi are not at their best in crunch matches such as this one, in which defeat could mean the end of their semi-final hopes.
Author: Mona Gupta (New Delhi)