Teams in transition clash on green top
Match factsTuesday, April 26, Delhi
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
After lacklustre starts to the tournament, both Delhi Daredevils and Royal Challengers Bangalore have taken bold steps to try to improve their fortunes; for each of them, the moves worked in their last games. The newly-prepared green top at the Feroz Shah Kotla allowed Virender Sehwag and David Warner to play their strokes, as the ball came on to the bat, and the Delhi fast bowlers enjoyed the bounce they got from the track.
For Bangalore, the shot in the arm came in the form of new signing Chris Gayle, whose century helped turn around a trend that had seen Bangalore not manage an opening stand of more than seven in their previous four matches.
The switch from the traditional slow-and-low Kotla wicket to a livelier one makes sense for Delhi, since all their foreign players are either Australian or South African - and therefore used to bouncy tracks - while their most-expensive player, Irfan Pathan, is a seamer. Tuesday's match will be a test of whether the win against Kings XI Punjab was a one-off or whether their strategy to pack the side with seamers for home games can be a consistently successful one.
From Bangalore's point of view, they will want to make as much use of their new opening partnership before Tillakaratne Dilshan leaves for England, which could be as early as May 10.
Adding further interest is the fact that Bangalore snapped up four of Delhi's foreign stars from last year in the January auction. "Old Delhi v New Delhi," Delhi coach Greg Shipperd dubbed the contest, though with several players changing teams in the rejigging, former team-mates clashing is not uncommon.
Apart from the fluidity of players' loyalties, the other salient feature of the IPL tomorrow's match exposes is its innate forgivingness. In many other sporting leagues Delhi and Bangalore's starts of three losses in their first four games may have seen heads roll at the franchises. But because of the congested nature of the IPL table, both teams find themselves in a position where a single win will put them right back in contention for the knockout stages.
Form guide (most recent first)Delhi: WLWLL (ninth in points table)
Bangalore: WLLLW (seventh in points table)
Bangalore's batting has a settled look, but the problems in the bowling department are perhaps illustrated by the fact that Virat Kohli, who has an IPL bowling average of 93.00, has been one of their more economical options this season. They might want to include an extra seamer to make use of the Kotla pitch, but with Dirk Nannes injured there aren't too many options; both S Aravind and Abhimanyu Mithun have gone for more than 10 an over so far, while Johan van der Wath has gone at 9.87. So they may give left-arm spinner J Syed Mohammad, who impressed in the last game, another go.
Delhi went in with five seamers in their last game, and may stick with that strategy since they don't have any established international spinners in their squad. Ajit Agarkar went for 47 runs in four overs in the last game, but the man who could replace him, Ashok Dinda, hasn't exactly set the tournament on fire either.
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In the spotlight
Aaron Finch entered the tournament with a big reputation, after his match-winning innings in a Twenty20 international against England, and his impressive performance for Victoria in the 2011 Big Bash. However, he has struggled on the slow Indian wickets, only managing 47 runs from five innings. The grass cover at the Kotla makes it a more familiar habitat and Tuesday is a chance for Finch to justify his billing.
Bangalore would have been pleased with the 123-run partnership between Gayle and Dilshan against Kolkata Knight Riders, and will now be looking for the middle order to give AB de Villiers some more support. Saurabh Tiwary will be key in achieving that end. He hasn't had the same impact since joining Bangalore as he did for Mumbai Indians last season, and will be looking to turn things around.
- Out of all the bowlers who have bowled more than five overs in IPL 2011, Bangalore captain Daniel Vettori has the best economy rate. He has gone at 5.75 in 20 overs so far.
- David Warner has got the joint-highest number of half-centuries in this IPL, with three in five innings. He is fourth in the list of leading run-getters.
The chatter"I prefer it when there is some bounce and carry on the pitch … and I'm definitely in favour of this wicket."
Morne Morkel is excited about the change in the Kotla pitch
"Half of their [Bangalore] side played for Delhi. They were our valued players. We tried to keep them in the auction but at last couldn't afford them."
Greg Shipperd, Delhi's coach, recognises the familiar names in the opposition camp
Dustin Silgardo is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo