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The Preview by Kanishkaa Balachandran
May 6, 2012
Match factsMonday, May 7
Only one point separates Delhi Daredevils from Kolkata Knight Riders and a win for the Knight Riders will take them to the lead. The teams met at the start of the tournament, but not many would have expected at that stage that these two would be the powerhouses as the league approaches the playoffs. The rain-affected game at Eden Gardens was reduced to 12 overs a side, during which Knight Riders managed 97 for 9. It was a comfortable eight-wicket win for Daredevils, a sign of things to come as they strengthened their position in the table over the coming weeks.
Daredevils have dropped just one game at the Feroz Shah Kotla this season. A big reason for their reversal of form from last season was Kevin Pietersen, who left after smashing 305 runs in eight innings, including a century. Pietersen will join England for the home series against West Indies, but his replacement is the equally intimidating David Warner. The Australian opener wasn't at his best on the sluggish pitches in the West Indies which tested his patience. Still, he managed respectable returns of 171 runs in the three Tests. He will relish the batting highways in India, starting with the Kotla, which has been a high-scoring venue this season.
Knight Riders are coming off a hard-fought win against Pune Warriors. They managed to defend a middling 150, thanks to their varied bowling attack which offered the best of raw pace and mystery spin. However, their middle and lower batting remains a concern as they crumbled after a century opening stand. Gautam Gambhir would hope that the batting finally comes good in this game as the bowlers will need the cushion against Daredevils.
Form guide(completed games, most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils: WWWWL
Kolkata Knight Riders: WWWWW
Players to watch
One of the fascinating contests of Knight Riders' match against Warriors was Sunil Narine v Sourav Ganguly who for all his experience against spin, was at sea against Narine's viscious spin. With figures of 1 for 13 in four overs, Narine took the Man-of-the-Match award. Will he be able to silence the likes of Virender Sehwag and Warner as well?
With 91 runs from seven innings, Daredevils' Ross Taylor is yet to show up. Fortunately, his lack of form hasn't affected the team's results. But in Pietersen's absence, Taylor's role will be important.
Stats and trivia
"I am pretty sure I'll be opening up with Viru and will try to continue the success we have had in previous years."
"We messed up big time. The kind of start we had with the depth in batting we could have easily got past 180. It's time the batsmen pulled up their socks.
Gautam Gambhir on his side's shortcomings against Warriors.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: Kanishkaa Balachandran
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