Delhi seek to get back on track
Match factsMay 5, 2009
Start time 16.30 (14.30GMT)
Taking on the pre-tournament favourites isn't an enviable task at the best of times, but when you are propping up the table and are in a must-win situation, it is harder still. Kolkata Knight Riders have that exacting job, when they face the Delhi Daredevils at Kingsmead on Tuesday. They may not have the results to show, but Kolkata have upped their game after the pasting from the Mumbai Indians in Port Elizabeth, and each of their last three matches could have swung either way going into the final two overs.
With seven sides involved in an intense scrap for the semi-final places, Delhi will look to get a leg-up in the table after the match against a lagging Kolkata, particularly after the slip-up against Chennai Super Kings. What is pleasing for Delhi is that they are among the top teams despite two of their key players, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, performing well below par. A less-than-threatening Kolkata attack presents a great opportunity for the pair to stamp their influence on the tournament.
Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils - LWLWW
With Gambhir and Sehwag not quite hitting top gear, the Delhi middle-order has stepped up. AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan have put in match-winning performances, and Dinesh Karthik made a stylish half-century against Chennai. The overseas bowlers have also been on form, Dirk Nannes and Daniel Vettori consigning Glenn McGrath and Farveez Maharoof to the bench.
Kolkata Knight Riders - LLLLL
Brendon McCullum's continuing troubles with the bat are contributing to Kolkata's sustained poor form but Brad Hodge's two battling half-centuries are heartening signs for a side which has struggled to post competitive totals.
Watch out for
Brad Hodge has been one of the reasons Kolkata have not been completely outplayed in their last two games. His ability to pace an innings, combining quicksilver running with savage-hitting, has made him a crucial part of a lightweight batting order. His tidy offspinners are an added bonus.
Even when AB de Villiers fails with the bat, as he did in the previous game against Chennai, he makes an impact with his safe catching and livewire fielding. After a couple of low scores, he'll be looking to make amends against Kolkata.
Delhi are still to take a call on Sehwag's fitness. If he hasn't recovered from his finger injury, David Warner will keep his place. Otherwise, Warner will miss out, with Daniel Vettori likely to come back. Legspinner Amit Mishra's place is likely to be under scrutiny after two ineffective performances.
Delhi Daredevils (probable) 1 Virender Sehwag/ David Warner, 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 AB de Villiers, 4 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 Mithun Manhas, 7 Rajat Bhatia, 8 Daniel Vettori/Amit Mishra, 9 Ashish Nehra, 10 Pradeep Sangwan, 11 Dirk Nannes
Struggling Kolkata have the added headache of finding a replacement for the explosive Gayle. With Moises Henriques failing to take his chances, either Sri Lankan allrounder Angelo Mathews or Mashrafe Mortaza could get a game. Ashok Dinda also had a forgettable outing against Punjab, and might be benched.
Kolkata Knight Riders (probable) 1 Brendon McCullum (capt), 2 Sourav Ganguly, 3 Brad Hodge, 4 Wriddhiman Saha, 5 Morne van Wyk (wk), 6 Angelo Mathews, 7 Laxmi Ratan Shukla, 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Murali Kartik, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Ishant Sharma
Stats and trivia
- Brad Hodge is the only Kolkata batsmen to have made a half-century, and he also has the best bowling average (14.00) in the side.
- Delhi's batsmen, in contrast, have one hundred and six half-centuries.
Kolkata won the first match between the two sides last year, in front of a packed Eden Gardens, despite a batting failure after Shoaib Akhtar's dramatic debut, when he ripped through Delhi's top order. The return game was washed out without a ball being bowled.
Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo