New Delhi, May 6: When in-form teams lock horns, it is expected to be a cracker of a contest. So get ready as Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders come face to face on Monday night at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium. It is also the clash of the local boys, Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir.
It is the meeting of the table toppers and the second-placed team. Delhi are on top of the points table with 16 points (10 matches) while Kolkata are behind them with 15 points (11 games).
Both are entering this Game 51 of IPL 5 with unbeaten streaks. Delhi are on a roll, with a four-match winning run. Kolkata are on an undefeated streak of five games (one wash out included). After that no result due to rain against Deccan Chargers, Kolkata completed a hat-trick of successes against Pune Warriors on Saturday night.
This is the return-leg match. When Sehwag and Gambhir left their friendship behind and walked out on to the Eden Gardens, it was the former who prevailed over his Delhi team-mate.
Revenge might be high on Gambhir and his KKR players. However, more than avenging that defeat, the focus will be on firmly securing the two points so that they can strengthen their chances of making the play-offs.
Delhi are almost through to the semi-finals. They have maintained a strong hold on the leader's position.
If KKR have to halt Delhi's victorious march, they have to first dismiss Sehwag cheaply. Sehwag has set a new record in Twenty20 with five successive half centuries. If he makes it six, then there is huge trouble for KKR.
Kevin Pietersen has returned to England and another aggressive batsman is likely to take his place. Australian opener David Warner has joined the squad and is expected to play his first game this season.
Delhi are looking good to go all the way to the title. It will take a collective effort from KKR to upset them. Gambhir is the one man who can mastermind Delhi's collapse. He needs support in batting, Yusuf Pathan in particular has to return to form. He has got too many chances this season and the run drought continues.
KKR will be wary of the pace of Morne Morkel and Umesh Yadav. Add to that, the left-arm spin of Shahbaz Nadeem will prove a big headache for the visiting batsmen.
Just like it happened in Kolkata on Saturday, will Delhi crowd be divided over Sehwag and Gambhir, a former Daredevils player. After all, both are home boys. Who will win the battle of local boys?
Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (captain), David Warner, Mahela Jayawardene, Ross Taylor, K. Venugopala Rao, Aaron Finch, Unmukt Chand, Irfan Pathan, Morne Morkel, Roelof van der Merwe, Naman Ojha (wicketkeeper), Ajit Agarkar, Andre Russell, Yogesh Nagar, Doug Bracewell, Umesh Yadav, Punit Bisht, Robin Bist, Avishkar Salvi, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sunny Gupta, Varun Aaron, Prashant Naik, Vikas Mishra, Zafir Patel, Kuldeep Raval, Manpreet Juneja, Glenn Maxwell, Gulam Bodi, Pawan Negi and Tejaswi Yadav.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Jacques Kallis, Manvinder Bisla, Manoj Tiwary, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Laxmipathy Balaji, Sunil Narine, Chirag Jani, Iqbal Abdulla, Iresh Saxena, Jaidev Unadkat, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Pradeep Sangwan, Sanju Samson, Sarabjit Ladda, Mohammad Shami Ahmed, Brendon McCullum (wicketkeeper), Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan and Marchant de Lange.
Match starts at 8PM IST