Clash between two of the favourites
by Asher Wilson

Scorecard:Delhi Daredevils v Kolkata Knight Riders
Event:Champions League 2012/13

DateLine: 12th October 2012


Kolkata Knight Riders vs Delhi Daredevils
Match Preview
Champions League 2012


The second match in Group A of the T20 Champions League on Saturday is a clash between two of the favorites as Kolkata Knight Riders lock horns with the Delhi Daredevils at Supersport Park.


Saturdayís Champions League contests see the real action start with the qualifying games making way for the proper tournament as the two Indian sides are in opposition. Kolkata are the reigning IPL champs while Delhi qualified after reaching the semi-final stage of the domestic competition, so it might be fair to assume that the men from Kolkata are the favourites ahead of this contest but keeping in mind the the players in Delhi squad who are match winning performers and have the ability to take the game away from any opposition in the space of a few short overs. Suddenly itís easy to fall into two states of mind as to who we can consider as favourites.


All Indian teams will benefit from the ability to pick their first choice squad. Everyone wants to play for their IPL franchise and Delhi will be captained in this tournament by veteran Sri Lankan opener Mahela Jayawardene. The 35-year-old enjoyed a consistent T20 World Cup where he made a string of scores over 40 and will clearly be crucial to the Daredevilsí success in this game.


In the top batsman ranking, Kolkataís Gambhir is the favorite to head his own sideís run charts. Delhiís batting contains a stellar line-up including Virender Sehwag, Kevin Pietersen, David Warner and New Zealandís Ross Taylor while the bowling attack will feature the likes of Morne Morkel and Irfan Pathan.


KKR meanwhile are led by Gautam Gambhir and they have an equally impressive overseas contingent at the skipperís disposal. Brett Lee will head the bowling while Jacques Kallis will be a pivotal figure with bat and ball. In Brendon McCullum, KKR have the number one ranked batsman in world T20 cricket while Sunil Narine could turn this match in his sideís favor with four overs of typically economical bowling.


Still to come is the underrated Bangladeshi Shakib Al Hasan, whose heroics earned the Knight Riders that IPL victory against hot favorites the Chennai Super Kings in the final.


So both teams have impressive line-ups but the criticism of Delhi is that they are far stronger in their batting than they are in bowling. That may not make such a difference in T20, however, where taking wickets is secondary and keeping the runs down is of more importance.


With KKR, itís hard to find any negative elements in their squad although Gambhir will rely on a collective bowling attack where most are over the age of 30. Brett Lee in particular has become injury prone in the latter stages of his career and itís vital that he stays fit.


There seem to be no such fitness concerns for either side ahead of this opening game and the incredible strength and depth of the Knight Ridersí line up points to a KKR victory.


Sensible batting is so important as slogging did not help any of teams in the qualifying fixtures. The Knight riders have quality bowling attack on their side and bowlers outside of the sub-continent who can bowl well on these pitches. The Delhi Daredevils team is sure to struggle with their out of form batsman Sehwag and mostly sub-continent batsmen who will struggle in their first game for sure due to being unused to the extra bounce and seam compared to home tracks as we saw in the qualifiers.

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
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