It wouldn’t be unfair to assume that Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Ridershave been the two best sides in the tournament so far. That though will not matter for much now as they take each other on for a place in the final. Neither Delhi nor KKR will start as favourites. Both teams are equally well balanced, and so it wasn’t surprising that two previous two clashes between the teams ended with either side winning a match each. Come to think of it, there is hardly anything to choose between the two sides.
As captain, Virender Sehwag hasn’t been the potent force he was in the earlier clashes for Delhi. However, his knocks have been crucial in the team ending as table-toppers. Having gone off the boil, Sehwag would be raring to get back among the runs in the big game. Delhi have been lucky to be served by David Warner as the replacement for Kevin Pietersen. The England middle-order batsman played a big role in Delhi’s victories in the early half of the league. However, Warner has made sure his good work wasn’t undone.
Delhi have also been buoyed by the return to form of Mahela Jayawardene, although very late in the league stage. Morne Morkel will remain their main strike bowler for Delhi, but he will need support from the rest of the cast as well. A crucial decision would be whether they take the risk of playing Ross Taylor. The Kiwi has had just one innings of substance, but there is no doubt that, on his day, he can be extremely dangerous.
The case is something similar for Kolkata as well, with Gautam Gambhir playing a significant role in their wins. In the big game too, Kolkata will look up to their captain to deliver. Player to player, Kolkata have more talented men. In Jacques Kallis, they still have the best all-rounder in the tournament. Plus, the pace duo of Brett Lee and Laxmi Balaji has been extremely handy. Also, Yusuf Pathan has slowly but surely got some confidence into the game. A couple of significant knocks and a few crucial wickets seem to have turned the tide for him. His best is yet to come though. Has he reserved it for the last?
The biggest asset of all that Gambhir possess is the mystery spin of Sunil Narine. The West Indian, who chose IPL over possible national duty, has proved to be unplayable to say the least. Sehwag had commented that he would attack Narine prior to the last clash between the two sides, but did not get an opportunity to do the same. He will look to make amends on the big stage for sure. How Narine fares will go a long way in deciding the fate of the mega clash.
Sehwag Vs Narine
Gambhir Vs Morkel
Warner Vs Lee
-- By A Cricket Analyst