A new-look Delhi Daredevils will launch their Indian Premier League campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Sharjah on Thursday without the services of their star batsman and captain Kevin Pietersen, who has been ruled out because of injury.
It will be a big setback for Delhi as Pietersen will be forced to sit out of the lung-opener because of a finger injury which is yet to heal completely. He is also a doubtful starter for the second game as well.
Pietersen, who was bought by Daredevils for $1.5 million (Rs 9 crore), had sustained an injury on his right hand little finger during fielding drills with Surrey at the Oval last month.
In Pietersen’s absence, Dinesh Karthik may lead the team against RCB who have a star-studded line-up and will be keen to start their campaign on a high. RCB had won both their matches against DD in 2013.
After a miserable 2013 -- the Mahela Jayawardene-led DD finished last -- Daredevils surely would want to turn their fortunes under new coach Gary Kirsten and the talented Pietersen.
England’s all-time leading run-scorer across all formats, Pietersen, 33, will now be available for a full IPL season for the first time following the end of his international career.
With the hard-working wicketkeeper-batsman Karthik and South Africa’s Jean-Paul Duminy as value additions in the new squad, Delhi are looking prepared and raring to go.
RCB, who had retained big boys Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers for the seventh edition, broke bank for Yuvraj Singh after shelling out a whopping 14 crores in the February auctions.
The team’s best finish was the runners-up trophy in 2011 but did not go beyond the qualifying stages in the 2013 season.
The Vijay Mallya-owned outfit is once again looking good with Ravi Rampaul, Mitchell Starc and Shadab Jakati on the list of promising buys’ this season.
RCB: Virat Kohli (C), AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle, Yuvraj Singh, Mitchell Starc, Albie Morkel, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Parthiv Patel, Muttiah Muralitharan, Ravi Rampaul, Nic Maddinson, Harshal Patel, Vijay Zol, Abu Nechim, Sachin Rana, Shadab Jakati, Sandeep Warrier, Tanmay Mishra, Yogesh Takawale, Yuzwendra Chahal.
DD: Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Ross Taylor, Quinton De Kock, Mohammed Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Nathan Coulter—Nile, Jean—Paul Duminy, Kedar Jadhav, SIdharth Kaul, Milind Kumar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jimmy Neesham, Wayne Parnell, HS Sharath, Laxmi Shukla, Rahul Shukla, Jayant Yadav, Saurabh Tiwary.
Match starts at 8 pm (IST).