Two upbeat and hugely resourceful sides of the Indian Premier League face-off at the Ferozeshah Kotla ground on Sunday with Royal Challengers Bangalore aiming to settle a score against Delhi Daredevils. Delhi’s current three-match winning sequence started when it stopped Bangalore on March 25. The return clash involving two serious aspirants for the semi-finals promises a fascinating contest.
Whether Delhi’s feared top-order comes good on the day or Bangalore’s flourishing middle-order provides the decisive difference will depend on how the bowlers keep their head during the anticipated onslaught.
Delhi draws strength from the fact that it is a well-knit unit. The emphasis is on having a collective performance though the team is yet to perform consistently to its potential. Virender Sehwag looked good almost every time but has often perished after promising much more while for Gautam Gambhir, it is a matter of adapting.
The skipper innovated well the other night when he guided Delhi to a win over Rajasthan Royals on a slow track. He admitted it was not the best pitch to bat on but then as he insisted, T20 was more than just about swinging the bat. “You can do well with just cricketing shots,” says Gambhir. He has a shining example in Sachin Tendulkar, who has not slogged and yet scored consistently.
Dinesh Karthik’s return to form augurs well for the team, bolstered by the arrival of Daniel Vettori. The Kiwi, easily the best left-arm spinner in the world, joined the squad on Saturday to give Gambhir the welcome option. Vettori’s batting abilities adds another dimension to the team’s approach so well signified by the belligerent David Warner, one of the best strikers of the ball in world cricket.
Delhi has paid attention to the playing conditions when picking the final eleven. The team management has backed itself when picking two spinners (Amit Mishra and Sarabjit Ladda) and keeping in mind the nature of the playing surface. “Different conditions demand different combinations,” said Delhi assistant coach Ashish Kapoor. Delhi could afford to use AB de Villiers sparingly. And bench T. Dilshan too.
While Delhi has had injury problems and made changes in every game, Bangalore seems to have got its combination right. The batsmen look to score more than what the bowlers are likely to concede. That surely makes things simple for skipper Anil Kumble.