Harpal Singh Bedi / New Delhi
An edge of the seat encounter is in the offing as a resurgent Delhi Daredevils take on rampaging champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the important IPL match at the Feroz Shah Kotla here Monday.
Both the teams will be entering the arena with two back to back victories to their credit. Delhi opened their campaign in the 10th edition of the league with a defeat at the hands of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) but then staged a dramatic recovery as they pounded Rising Pune Supergiant and Kings Xi Punjan in away and home matches.
The two –time winners of the league KKR led by Gautam Gambhir with three wins from four outings are leading the points table and their focus will be to stay put at that slot.
However Delhi is sensing an opportunity to turn the table. This is the best start they had to their campaign in the league in recent times and they will do every thing to keep the momentum going. ,
On paper, man to man, both teams are equally balanced. Delhi has a depth in batting as they showcased it in a match against Punjab yesterday and they seem to have problem of plenty in bowling department which is proved by the fact that they have not been able to find place for South African pacer Kasigo Rabada and Mohammed Shami in the playing eleven so far.
Delhi’s International star cast is impressive. It was the quartet of England’s Sam Billings, New Zealander Corey Anderson, South African all rounder Chris Morris and Australian pacer Pat Cummins that dismantled Punjab.
Skipper Zaheer Khan, spinners Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem make the host’s bowling department more menacing and incisive. Return of Shreyas Iyer and in form Sanju Samson add to the strength of batting line up which also includes Karun Nair and Rishab Pant.
Though Angelo Mathews has also joined the side it remains to be seen whether Delhi will tinker with its winning combination for the Sri Lankan.
So far Zaheer Khan has led his side well and that has earned him praise from his tea mates . “ As a bowler, you have to read the game. Zaheer sets some interesting fields and he’s a smart cricketer. It’s a nice confidence to have. “ opined Anderson, after the match against Punjab.
On the other hand KKR’s Gautam Gambhir, is leading from the front and his batsmen have lived up to their reputation so far but for one single failure.
Though the visitors will miss injured opener Chris Lynn they still have enough fire power Gautam Gambir , Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan, can on their day can destroy any bowling attack. .
It will be interesting to watch whether Gautam Gambhir will again gamble with Narine as an opener as he did against Sunrisers Hyderabad. Though Narine flopped but the move did creat confusion in the rival camp.
Their bowling line up is also very impressive as it includes Trent Boult, West Indies spinner Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, and Umesh Yadav and the young Delhi batsmen may find it tough to negotiate them