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The Preview by Sidharth Monga
April 4, 2012
Match factsThursday, April 5, Kolkata
Big pictureThey are team-mates, opening partners and friends, but on Thursday, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir will knock gloves only at the toss, and will proceed to lead their respective IPL sides against each other. Personally, and internationally, if you were to take out Sehwag's ODI double-century, the duo has had an ordinary time of it. Gambhir hasn't scored a Test century in two years; Sehwag last managed one in November 2010. In that regard this could be a no-win situation: if they do really well as captains here, it won't make any difference to their current standing in international cricket, but failure will add up.
Sehwag's team, Delhi Daredevils, knows failure well from last year when they finished last. Kolkata Knight Riders' upswing under Gambhir, though, took them to the fourth spot. Daredevils, who have more ground to make, will have to do without Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and David Warner for the first few games, which will be a challenge. Knight Riders are more settled in that regard, and should start as favourites, especially given the home advantage of a traditionally tacky surface.
Players to watchAustralia may or may not be relieved at his absence in the Test series, but Knight Riders are sure elated with their new acquisition, the all-sorts fingerspinner from Trinidad, Sunil Narine. His economy-rate of under five and average of under 15 speak for themselves.
Daredevils have tapped the West Indies Twenty20 freelance market to their advantage too, acquiring the services of the explosive allrounder Andre Russell. Like with Narine, there is no point holding back Russell either.
2011 head-to-headKnight Riders and Daredevils played each other just once last year. Manoj Tiwary's 61 off 47 balls took Knight Riders to 148. Daredevils never came to terms with the slowness of the Kotla surface, and lost by 17.
Stats and trivia
Quotes"I was not expecting to play against him in the very first match. That's the only game of cricket in my life, which I don't enjoy. This is a game where I can't handle it. Otherwise I would love this game. But this is what our job is. We have to be honest to our teams and make sure we do well for our teams, even though we are brothers. Hope a situation does not arise where I'm bowling the last over to him with 10-15 runs required. That's the only time when I think I would be thinking negative. Otherwise I will always have a challenge. I will be really happy if he scores a 50 or 100 and we go on to win the match."
"This is the first time I have seen the vice-captain has been dropped after losing. Usually the captain is dropped after losing... I don't understand what made the selectors drop him… I don't know about him and what he feels, but if I were Gambhir then definitely I would have thought, 'You removed me from the vice-captaincy, and my goal is to win this IPL and prove a point.'"
Wasim Akram, Knight Riders mentor, on Gautam Gambhir
edited by Abhishek Purohit
Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Sidharth Monga
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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