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Rain delays the start at Newlands

The toss for the third match of the second edition of the Indian Premier League between Delhi Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab was delayed by 30 minutes due to rain at Newlands in Cape Town on Sunday.

The game is eagerly awaited as the hottest opening pair in the game - Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir - join into IPL Season Two action as Team Delhi begin their campaign against Yuvraj Singh's Kings XI Punjab.

For Yuvraj, the biggest concern would be finding some way to cut short the stay of the two dangerous openers, plus Australian batting sensation David Warner, who at No 3 cause a fair bit of damage too.

The problem for the King's XI Punjab skipper is, his bowling resources are thinner than ever. There is no Brett Lee, no Sreesanth, and no James Hopes, at least till the first nine matches, either.

The onus on stopping this 'awesome threesome', would thus fall upon Irfan Pathan and Piyush Chawla and South African left-arm seamer Yusuf Abdullah.

Maybe Yuvraj's left-arm spin can do the trick! The surprise packet could be New South Wales' 22-year-old fast bowler Burt Cockley, who, coach Tom Moody says, bowls at 140+ regularly, but is yet to play Twenty20 cricket. England's rising star Ravi Bopara could fill in a few overs as well, but at maximum he can be expected to do a containing job.

Delhi's bowling, in comparison, looks much better, though they would definitely miss the pace and incisiveness of Mohammad Asif this time.

Still, the medium-pace of Glenn McGrath, Yo Mahesh and the spin of Daniel Vettori and Amit Mishra is a decent combination.

It would be interesting to watch whether McGrath, now 39, has the same effectiveness as last year. The addition of former India left-arm fast bowler Ashish Nehra and Vidharbha seamer Umesh Yadav strengthens the attack even more. Aussie all-rounder Dirk Nannes, a T20 specialist, could also be tried out by Sehwag.

Yuvraj's best hope lies in pinning his hopes on a formidable batting line-up that begins with Australian Test opener Simon Katich and his younger compatriot Luke Pomersbach, who impressed everyone last season.

The middle-order boasts of Sri Lankan aces Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene, both of whom would be playing a competitive game for the first time since that deadly terror attack on their team bus in Lahore. Bopara can contribute handsomely too.

Yuvraj's big-hitting would be the perfect icing on the cake. The fact that he returns to the land where he captured the cricket world's imagination with six sixes in an over during the T20 World Cup almost a couple of years back, may fire the explosive left-hander more.

The team would badly miss the services of Shaun Marsh, who surprisingly turned out to be the best opener of the previous season and the big-hitting of Hopes.

Both teams were the losing semifinalists last season, as Team Delhi lost to Team Jaipur and King's XI Punjab went down to Team Chennai.

King's XI, in fact, looked one of the hot title favourites and their loss to a depleted Team Chennai came as a bit of a surprise.

This season, however, they don't inspire the same confidence, though this event has a history of underdogs making others bite the dust.

This game could well be decided in the first few overs of the Delhi innings. If Gauti-Viru get going, trust that famous dimpled smile of Bollywood beauty and King's XI owner Preity Zinta to dissapear quickly.

Sehwag was much-cricised for his poor captaincy in the second Test against New Zealand at Napier. This event offers the Indian vice-captain the opportunity to silence his critics for a while.

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