Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders, IPL, Johannesburg May 9, 2009

Chance for Delhi to reclaim top spot

Match facts

May 10, 2009
Start time 16.45 (14.45 GMT, 20.15 IST)

Big Picture

The tournament's most impressive side takes on the weakest at the Wanderers tomorrow. Delhi Daredevils are heavily favoured to go all the way while Kolkata Knight Riders have been rooted to the bottom of the table almost since the start. Following their defeat to Chennai, Delhi notched up two consecutive victories and, given their trouncing of Kolkata in their previous encounter last week, look good for a third. That will ensure they reclaim their position at the top from Chennai. They are currently on 12 points from eight games with two games in hand over their challengers.

With seven defeats, Kolkata are virtually out of the tournament, barring the rather unlikely event of a five-match winning streak from here on. Effectively, Kolkata will be playing for pride.

Form guide (completed matches, most recent first)

Delhi - WWLWL
The top order looked uncharacteristically scratchy against Mumbai Indians but it didn't matter in the end as they were chasing a modest 117. Their stand-in captain, Gautam Gambhir, is yet to find the fluency of his stupendous form last year. Delhi's bowling set up their most recent victory and the most striking feature was the fact that they conceded just two boundaries in the first ten overs of Mumbai's innings.

Kolkata - LLLLL
The only positive Kolkata took out of their previous game was the performance of their top order. Morne van Wyk led their efforts with 74 while Brendon McCullum made a refreshing 35. But their bowlers failed to put any pressure on Delhi and the fielding was shoddy.

Watch out for

Brendon McCullum: The Kolkata captain has had a lot on his plate, aside from his own ordinary form, with 85 from eight games. He made a sound start against Delhi, smashing three sixes. Though he failed to carry on after making a start, one could sense he was turning the corner. Perhaps the hopeless scenario with his team will allow him to bat with less pressure and the IPL will only be richer if he strikes gold.


Virender Sehwag's availability is still in doubt and if he sits out again, David Warner will retain his place. Glenn McGrath must have set the bench on fire already but it seems his best chance of getting a game depends if they want to give Dirk Nannes a rest.

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 Amit Mishra, 9 Ashish Nehra, 10 Pradeep Sangwan, 11 Dirk Nannes/Glenn McGrath

The calls for Mashrafe Mortaza's inclusion have only got stronger, at least going by feedback received by Cricinfo. But with three overseas players virtually picking themselves, Mortaza's only realistic chance of getting a game is as a replacement for Moises Henriques, though the allrounder didn't do too badly with the bat in his last game, scoring 30 off 24 balls. David Hussey has been cleared by Cricket Australia to play but if he comes in, Brad Hodge may have to make way.

Kolkata Knight Riders (probable) 1 Morne van Vyk (wk), 2 Brendon McCullum (capt), 3 Brad Hodge/David Hussey, 4 Sourav Ganguly, 5 Wriddhiman Saha, 6 Moises Henriques/Mashrafe Mortaza, 7 Laxmi Ratan Shukla, 8 Ajit Agarkar, 9 Murali Kartik, 10 Ashok Dinda, 11 Ishant Sharma

Stats and trivia

Morne van Vyk has the highest average (83.50) in the tournament for a batsman who has played four innings or more.

McCullum has hit three fours and five sixes in eight games. In one game alone, he managed 10 fours and 13 sixes and that was during his whirlwind 158 in Bangalore. That's a lot of catching up to do.


The current head to head stands at 1-1. Shoaib Akhtar stole the attention at the Eden Gardens but the return match in Delhi was washed out. Delhi evened the score with a nine-wicket win in Durban.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a sub-editor at Cricinfo