Gautam Gambhir has an opportunity to further cement his place as the tournament's highest-scorer against Bangalore's struggling bowling attack(file photo)
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Monday, May 19, 2008
Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)
The Big Picture
The Delhi Daredevils' semi-final hopes have dimmed after four defeats in five outings but they couldn't have asked for a better opportunity to reignite their campaign. Delhi's frustrations coming into the game are compounded by losing two close encounters over the last ten days, but they shouldn't have too many sleepless nights ahead of their encounter with the weakest side in the tournament.
Gautam Gambhir, with 465 runs at 46.50, has gained a big lead in the run-chart and is followed by his captain, Virender Sehwag, who has cracked 338 runs at 37.55. They also possess a well-oiled bowling unit, which has been further strengthened by the control show by the legspinner, Amit Mishra.
The under-fire Rahul Dravid is soldiering on, as his 36-ball 75 against Rajasthan showed, and continues to solidly defend his under-performing team-mates. While the team has tried an assortment of openers, nothing it seems, can alter their early fall of wickets, something which continues to put a heavy burden on the middle order.
Their problems have been further exacerbated by the failure of their bowlers, who have taken just two wickets in their last two matches. Zaheer Khan, and to a lesser extent Praveen Kumar, are the only ones who have managed to give a good account of themselves. Worryingly, Dravid admitted that "the intensity was not there" after the Rajasthan game, a situation that needs immediate addressing if Bangalore don't want to earn the wooden spoon.
Delhi Daredvils: P11, W5, L6, NRR +0.295
Bangalore Royal Challengers: P10, W2, L8, NRR -1.577
Form (last five matches, most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils: LWLLL
Bangalore Royal Challengers: LLLLW
Watch out for ...
With the Chinnaswamy Stadium likely to favour the bowlers, expect some stand-out performances from the Delhi seamers, especially their spearhead, Glenn McGrath.Misbah-ul-Haq has failed to set the stands alight in his Indian sojourn, and shorn of the responsibilities of ensuring a place for his side in the last four, he has the ideal platform to launch an assault.A rollicking start by Delhi's power-packed top order.
Delhi's line-up looks pretty settled, but they are likely to bring in Yo Mahesh, who has taken 10 wickets in his eight appearances, in place of Pradeep Sangwan. A question mark, though, hangs over the availability of Mohammad Asif, who is recuperating from a split webbing on his hand.
Delhi Daredevils (probable): 1 Virender Sehwag (capt), 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 AB de Villiers (wk), 5 Manoj Tiwary, 6 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 7 Farveez Maharoof, 8 Rajat Bhatia, 9 Amit Mishra, 10 Yo Mahesh, 11 Glenn McGrath.
Bangalore may bolster their bowling considering the nature of the surface and bench Anil Kumble and Abdur Razzak, the Bangladeshi left-arm spinner who made his debut in their last match. This could signal the return of Dale Steyn to share the new ball with Zaheer. Bangalore might also consider offering a debut to Shreevats Goswami, the India Under-19 wicketkeeper, as Devraj Patil has done nothing of note in his two matches.
Bangalore Royal Challengers (probable): 1 J Arunkumar, 2 Virat Kohli, 3 Misbah-ul-Haq, 4 Rahul Dravid (capt), 5 Cameron White, 6 Jacques Kallis, 7 Shreevats Goswami (wk), 8 Praveen Kumar, 9 Vinay Kumar, 10 Zaheer Khan, 11 Dale Steyn.
Stats and trivia
Gambhir has scored approximately 31% of Delhi's runs in the tournament. Dravid has accounted for 20.5 % of Bangalore's runs.Kumble (194) has the unenviable record of having the highest average among all the bowlers in the IPL.Zaheer, who has 13 wickets to his credit, needs two more to join RP Singh as the leading wicket-taker. Delhi's bowlers have claimed 82 wickets at 20.74, while Bangalore have conceded about 40 runs for each of their 41 wickets.
"We have to win tomorrow in order to keep our chances of moving up in this tournament alive."
AB de Villiers on the significance of the Bangalore game for Delhi
Ashok Ganguly is an editorial assistant at Cricinfo