Delhi make another attempt to leave bottom
Match factsThursday, April 28, Delhi
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)
Delhi Daredevils need some inspiration to lift themselves from the bottom of the table. They've even changed the nature of the insipid Feroz Shah Kotla pitch, transforming it from a low-and-slow surface to one with lots of live grass. The move brought them what could have been a morale-boosting win over Kings XI Punjab. The grass was, however, surprisingly trimmed for their next match against Royal Challengers Bangalore, a move that did not impress Virender Sehwag. The Delhi top order did not enjoy the surface, Bangalore's did, and the visitors managed to scrape through in a tight chase. Delhi play three more games at the Kotla this season, and might as well make the most of home advantage by giving their captain the kind of wicket that he wants.
After a five-day break, Kolkata Knight Riders return to the hit-and-travel IPL action for the first of five games in ten days. They couldn't chase a modest total and couldn't defend a substantial score in their previous two matches at home. In their defence, they ran in to Chris Gayle and had nowhere to hide. A game against struggling Delhi could not have come at a better time. Kolkata's powerful batting line-up should enjoy the bouncier Kotla track much more than the one at Eden Gardens. Delhi have the better pace attack though, and Kolkata would be wary after what Ishant Sharma did to Kochi Tuskers Kerala on another helpful surface in Kochi.
Form guide (most recent first)
Delhi: LWLWL (last in points table)
Kolkata: LLWWW (fifth in points table)
Kolkata could make some changes given the pacy nature of the Delhi track. Brett Lee should walk in after being left out in place of Brad Haddin against Bangalore. Whether Kolkata go in with two left-arm spinners, Shakib Al Hasan and Iqbal Abdulla, would be interesting to see. They also have overseas options in Ryan ten Doeschate and Australian fast bowler James Pattinson.
Delhi rotated their fast bowlers in the previous two games on the revitalised Kotla track. Ajit Agarkar and Varun Aaron made way for Umesh Yadav and Ashok Dinda against Bangalore. What combination will they play tomorrow?
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In the spotlight
Morne Morkel enjoyed the pace and bounce of the Kotla pitch, and it was he who brought Delhi back against Bangalore with two wickets in three balls. Even in the high-scoring match against Punjab, he had the best economy-rate on either side. He hasn't received enough support, and will again have to carry the attack tomorrow if Delhi are to start some sort of revival.
Gautam Gambhir, with more IPL runs than Sehwag, was not retained by Delhi, and became the most expensive purchase at the January auction, bought for a record $2.4 million by Kolkata. He was the first player on sale, and the bidding for him was so fierce that there were about 35-40 bids and counter-bids among the franchises. Delhi, however, did not bid even once. The snub will be somewhere on Gambhir's mind when he leads Kolkata out tomorrow at his home ground, and he would want to show Delhi what they missed.
- Venugopal Rao has scored 190 runs in this IPL, the most for Delhi after David Warner
- Delhi had the most ducks in an IPL innings, five, until Kochi got six against Deccan Chargers
The chatter"They cut a lot of grass, which we didn't want, but we have to carry on with whatever wicket we get."
Virender Sehwag on the Kotla wicket
"I believe it is unfair to single out Rajat because I don't think he has got decent enough opportunities where he could have made a difference. He is as valuable a player as others."
Kolkata coach Dav Whatmore backs his allrounder Rajat Bhatia to come good.
Abhishek Purohit is an editorial assistant at ESPNcricinfo