ICL: Indian Cricket League

Kolkata and Delhi battle for leverage


Match facts

Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Start time 20.00 (local), 14.30 (GMT)

The Big Picture

After 34 matches and well into the second half of the league, Kolkata and Delhi finally meet each other - and the timing couldn’t be better. Their progress has been markedly different but, having played eight games each, they are now level on points and separated only by the slimmest of margins: a difference of 0.045 in the net run-rate puts Kolkata above Delhi. Both are currently competing for the final semi-final spot and, with each match, the margin for error becomes smaller.

Kolkata, however, have the momentum - crucial in the Twenty20 format - after ending a four-match losing streak with two consecutive victories, albeit against the weakest sides, Bangalore Royal Challengers and Deccan Chargers. Their batting remains frail at the top - the latest combination of Aakash Chopra and Salman Butt was their sixth in eight games - and they rely primarily on David Hussey in the middle order to boost their totals. However, Sourav Ganguly, one of few icon players to perform significantly, was the Man of the Match in both of Kolkata’s recent wins and his form will be crucial to their semi-final aspirations. Ganguly and Hussey mask what is otherwise a batting line-up that lacks punch.

Delhi, at one stage, looked strong enough to top the league with four wins in five games. That run was halted, however, by a hat-trick of defeats against strong opposition - the resurgent Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. The common feature in those defeats was a weak performance from the middle order after the starts provided by Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan. Delhi lack the presence of an enforcer in the lower-middle order, someone with the hitting abilities of Albie Morkel or Shane Watson, which has allowed opponents to dominate towards the latter half of the innings.

Tournament position

Kolkata Knight Riders: P8, W4, L4, NRR +0.545
Delhi Daredevils: P8, W4, L4, NRR +0.500

IPL form (last five matches, most recent first)

Kolkata Knight Riders: WWLLL
Delhi Daredevils: LLLWW

Watch out for …

  • The Pakistan factor. If Kolkata pick Shoaib Akhtar and Delhi play Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Asif, Shoaib will be up against Malik, his former captain, and Asif, his successor as Pakistan’s best fast bowler.
  • Ishant Sharma v Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir. They’ve played together for Delhi in the Ranji Trophy and for India; all three are also in top form.Team news

Kolkata have not rushed Shoaib into action since he became available for selection but, during the game against Deccan, Shoaib said that he would be fit to play the next match. If he is to be accommodated, it will be at the expense of either Butt or Umar Gul, who was profligate on Sunday. Kolkata do not have too many Indian batting options to replace Butt but a fast-bowling attack comprising Shoaib, Ishant, Gul and Ashok Dinda might be too good to pass up.

Kolkata Knight Riders (probable): 1 Salman Butt, 2 Aakash Chopra, 3 Sourav Ganguly (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Tatenda Taibu, 6 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 7 Laxmi Ratan Shukla, 8 Murali Kartik, 9 Shoaib Akhtar, 10 Ishant Sharma, 11 Ashok Dinda.

Delhi replaced their Pakistan contingent - Malik and Asif - with the Sri Lankans Tillakaratne Dilshan and Farveez Maharoof for Sunday’s game against Jaipur and are likely to retain the combination. Legspinner Amit Mishra took 2 for 27 off three overs and might hold his place. Delhi still haven’t explored the option of making de Villiers keep wicket and replacing Dinesh Karthik, who’s scored 73 runs in five innings, with either Manoj Tiwary or Rajat Bhatia.

Delhi Daredevils (probable): 1 Virender Sehwag (capt), 2 Gautam Gambhir, 3 Shikhar Dhawan, 4 AB de Villiers, 5 Dinesh Karthik, 6 Tillakaratne Dilshan, 7 Amit Mishra, 8 Farveez Maharoof, 9 Pradeep Sangwan, 10 V Yomahesh, 11 Glenn McGrath.

Stats and trivia

  • Delhi fast bowler Glenn McGrath’s 5.71 runs per over is the best economy-rate of the tournament. Kolkata medium-pacers, Ganguly and Ashok Dinda, are second and third with 5.78 and 6.33 runs per over.
  • Hussey and Sehwag are poised to over-take Adam Gilchrist for the most sixes in the tournament. Gilchrist has hit 16 sixes while, Hussey and Sehwag have 15 and 14 respectively.Quotes

“The idea is not to give him room on or around the off-stump. We have to bowl in the right areas more often before he takes the game away from us.”
Coach John Buchanan on Kolkata’s plans to check Virender Sehwag’s run-scoring

Source:Cricket News

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