Delhi look for first points against confident Kolkata
Kolkata v Delhi, Dubai
Saturday, April 19, 2014
Start time 1830 (1430 GMT, 2000 IST)
Kolkata will be high on confidence after beginning with a thumping win over the defending champions. Jacques Kallis repaid the faith they showed in him at the auction, where they used a right-to-match card on him, with a well-paced 72 off 46. Manish Pandey began brightly in his first game with the franchise with a quick half-century of his own. Sunil Narine spun another web around the opposition on his way to figures of 4 for 20. There were many positives for the team. But they can't get too ahead of themselves. On the downside for them, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa and Shakib Al Hasan aggregated two runs among them, part-time keeper Uthappa looked uncomfortable in the role against the wiles of Narine, and they have probably lost the services of the other player they used a right-to-match card on - Yusuf Pathan is back in India after his wife delivered their first child and is likely to miss the match.
Delhi were off to a disappointing start, losing to Bangalore. JP Duminy was at his best with the bat, with 67 not out off 48 under pressure, but he was the exception for them. Overall the team's confidence would have taken a bit of a hit - they had expressed great hopes in making a fresh start with their new-look squad, but were in disarray eight overs into their campaign at 35 for 4. In the latter part of Bangalore's innings, their catching was a shambles and their bowlers fed Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli length balls on the pads and gentle half-trackers.
Even Ross Taylor, who helped resurrect the innings with 43 off 39, hardly looked fluent during his knock. Worst of all, they were without their main batsman and captain, Kevin Pietersen, who sat out with a finger injury. They are not assured of having his services against Kolkata either. But it's just the start of a long tournament; one loss does not derail a season. What they will be wary of is allowing one bad game to grow into a poor run, as it did last season, when they they lost six in a row at the start, and never recovered.
Watch out for ...
Gautam Gambhir was one of two players retained by Kolkata. He is the team's captain. He has gone from being one half India's primary Test opening partnership to having not played for the country in over a year. He was out for an eight-ball duck in Kolkata's opening game and will be eager to contribute a lot more, soon.
Dinesh Karthik will be the Delhi captain, should Kevin Pietersen not return. He was the second-most expensive buy at the 2014 auction, with Delhi paying Rs 12.5 crore (US$ 2 million approx) for him. He has played for India as a specialist batsman on several occasions. He last got his chance for the country behind and in front of the stumps in the Asia Cup in March, when Dhoni was injured, but didn't impress. He was also out for a duck in his team's opener. He, too, has much to prove and will be eager to do so sooner rather than later.
Stats and trivia
- Kolkata's top three - Gambhir, Kallis and Pandey - are joint holders of an unwanted record: most ducks by recognised batsmen in the league. Each of them have eight, and only Amit Mishra has more.
- The last match Delhi won was against Kolkata in 2013 - they have lost seven in a row since
Nikita Bastian is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo