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Updated: May 6, 2014 23:09 IST

Inconsistent sides seek to stay in the hunt

Y. B. Sarangi
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After losing two home games in a row, captain Kevin Pietersen (right) and coach Gary Kirsten will be keen to buck the trend when Delhi Daredevils meets Knight Riders. Photo: S. Subramanium
The Hindu After losing two home games in a row, captain Kevin Pietersen (right) and coach Gary Kirsten will be keen to buck the trend when Delhi Daredevils meets Knight Riders. Photo: S. Subramanium

Kevin Pietersen is trying his best to keep Delhi Daredevils’ morale high in IPL-7. The team has reached the halfway stage of the league and the below-par showing of its bowlers has continued to hurt its chances badly.

As Daredevils prepared for its third home match, against Kolkata Kight Riders at the Ferozeshah Kotla on Wednesday, Pietersen backed his team despite the disappointing loss to Chennai Super Kings on Monday. “I am proud of the way we played (in the high-scoring match) against CSK,” said Pietersen.

The Daredevils batsmen, particularly Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Jean-Paul Duminy and Kedar Jadhav, powered the side to a big total and the bowlers, too, overcame the early onslaught of the CSK openers to stretch the match to the last over.

Though Daredevils’ four-wicket victory over Knight Riders in their last meeting in Dubai gives it a slight edge, two successive defeats on home turf is a cause for concern.

Laxmi Ratan Shukla looked meaningful in patches and Wayne Parnell emerged as the most economical bowler against CSK. It will be interesting to see what changes the Daredevils think-tank makes against Knight Riders.

Some dramatic batting collapses have affected Knight Riders’ journey this season. The shocking loss to Rajasthan Royals on Monday, after the openers Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa added 121 while chasing a target of 171, would have hurt the side badly and it needs to regroup itself while taking on Daredevils.

Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey and Jacques Kallis have been the primary run-getters for the side while Gambhir has started to find his feet after a dreadful start. Knight Riders will look to Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan to fire on all cylinders.

Despite the presence of Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar and Kallis in its ranks, the KKR attack is yet to find consistency. As the two teams, on four points each, prepare for the clash, the batsman-friendly Kotla wicket promises a run feast.

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