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After the hiding, Twenty20 exposure

India have played just one Twenty20 and won that match against South Africa. Virender Sehwag was the man in charge at that time.

On Tuesday, Sehwag will be leading again — this time his state Delhi — as he and his Team India mate Yuvraj Singh would try to provide some silver lining in the dark alleys of Indian cricket after the World Cup debacle.

Sehwag, along with Yuvraj, Gautam Gambhir, Ashish Nehra, Dinesh Mongia, Joginder Sharma, VRV Singh and Reetinder Sodhi will form the star cast at the North Zone matches between April 4 and 8 as part of the BCCI’s inaugural Twenty20 domestic version. There will be three matches every day played at two different venues with games starting at 10 am and 2 pm.

Delhi take on Himachal Pradesh in the opening match at the Ferozeshah Kotla while Punjab will lock horns with Haryana at the same venue in the afternoon slot. At the Palam ground, Services will take on Jammu & Kashmir.

Hosts Delhi look favourites to win their first match against Himachal with the likes of Sehwag, Gambhir and Shikhar Dhawan in the top order ready to fire and the middle order with Mitthun Manhas, Mayank Tehlan and Rajat Bhatia looking rock solid.

Delhi will, however, have to watch out for Sandeep Sharma and Manvinder Bisla, who too are capable of wielding the bat to great effect in the opposition camp.

Delhi’s added worry would be their suspect bowling. Much of the onus will be on Ashish Nehra — arguably the best in the slog overs — to provide the experience to an attack that has greenhorns in Ishant Sharma and Pradeep Sangwan for company.

But in a much shortened version, things can’t be predicted based on the reputation of teams. What actually matters is how a team performs on the day. Himachal, despite their status, can spring a surprise or two if their batsmen click. Similarly, their bowlers, too, can make Delhi pay.

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