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Level teams aim for surge

Posted by James On 12:37 PM 0 comments

Match facts
Monday, March 29
Start time 2000 (1430 GMT)

Big picture

Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils' progress through the competition has been almost identical. Both began with wins in their first two games but slipped to lose three in a row. And they bounced back to get their campaign back on track with resounding wins over Kings XI Punjab and Royal Challengers Bangalore respectively. Level on points after playing six games, each team will aim to consign the other to the bottom three nearing the halfway stage in the tournament.

Both victories were built on batting performances. David Warner and Kedar Jadhav were the architects of Delhi's imposing score against Bangalore, while Sourav Ganguly and Manoj Tiwary combined to do the same against Punjab.

Ganguly, gradually improving at the top of the order, in his article on the eve of the Punjab game, sought inspiration from the turnarounds wrought by Pakistan in the 1992 World Cup, India in the '03 World Cup and Bangalore in the previous IPL. Delhi will seek to continue what they've started, with the hope of getting back two of their star players - Gautam Gambhir and Ashish Nehra, both of whom were declared fit before being included in the Indian squad for the World Twenty20 next month.

Form guide (most recent first)
Delhi Daredevils: WLLLW
Kolkata Knight Riders:WLLLW

Team talk

Kolkata's comprehensive win over Punjab could prompt them to retain their XI, as has been the trend among teams who've had a run of success in this competition. They made five changes, two of which made an impact - Manoj Tiwary and Ajit Agarkar.

Ashok Dinda and Iqbal Abdulla bowled just two overs each, while David Hussey, who replaced Owais Shah, managed just 3 with the bat. Ishant Sharma and Murali Kartik, the two other men left out, are not likely to remain on the sidelines for too long, so their replacements have to make the most of what they're given.

If Delhi choose to take it easy on Gambhir and Nehra, allowing them more rest for the injuries they had picked up, one can expect them to stick to same team that halted Bangalore's winning streak. If they return, however, Mithun Manhas and Pradeep Sangwan could be left out.


Delhi 2, Kolkata 1

Kolkata won the opening encounter between the teams, with Shoaib Akhtar grabbing 4 for 11 and the second game was washed out.

Delhi had the better of both games in the second edition, winning by nine wickets in Durban and seven wickets in Johannesburg.

Prime numbers

* The Kolkata bowlers have conceded the least extras in this competition thus far. They've only given away 38, while Chennai top the list with 69. Delhi have given away 63.

* The Kolkata slow bowlers have the second-lowest economy rate in this IPL. They've gone for 6.41 an over and have an average of 29; Bangalore top the list with 5.78 and 18.33. Delhi's spinners have the second-highest economy rate, 8.27, and the second-best average - 23.14.

In the spotlight

Chris Gayle v Delhi opening bowlers: Dirk Nannes and Umesh Yadav can work up some good pace - both have gone past the 140 mark consistently. Gayle took a while to open up against Mumbai Indians, facing Lasith Malinga and Zaheer Khan, but went on to get 75. Will the Delhi bowling pair be able to rein him in?

Amit Mishra: He conceded just 23 in four overs against Bangalore, and nipped out two wickets. He got turn, mixed his variations well, and did not hesitate to toss it up against a power-packed line-up. Against a middle order comprising Manoj Tiwary, Angelo Mathews and Hussey, he'll aim for a repeat.

The chatter
"After the first two matches people were going gaga over us; they even went to the extent of stating that we are a different side this season. The same people are airing completely different views after our three straight losses!" Sourav Ganguly.

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