Daredevils look to get back on track
It is a tale of two teams, one on the upswing having won two back-to-back matches and the other on the downswing having lost three on the trot.
When the Virender Sehwag-led Delhi Daredevils takes on Sourav Ganguly-captained Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens here on Tuesday ó the first ever meeting between the two teams in the ongoing DLF-Indian Premier League (IPL) Twenty20 cricket tournament ó the team that displays greater mental agility will have a large say in the outcome.
It will not be easy for Daredevils to recover quickly from three devastating losses, especially at a very crucial stage of the tournament.
Riding on a crest of success at the beginning of the competition, Daredevils was brought down to earth first by Mumbai Indians, then by Chennai Super Kings and on Monday by Rajasthan Royals.
On the other hand, Knight Riders, down in the dumps after four straight defeats, picked itself up by beating Royal Challengers Bangalore at home, albeit by a narrow margin and thrashed Deccan Chargers in an away game on Monday.
Both the combatants, however, will go into the ninth round match having won and lost the same number of matches ó four each. Knight Riders occupies a slot higher than the Delhi outfit.
Daredevilsí success thus far is largely owing to the superb start its openers Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir gave.
With an uncertain middle-order not helping the teamís cause, once again the visiting team will be looking at the two players to re-launch its sagging campaign.
And there can be no better place than the Eden Gardens to do so.
Daredevilsí bowling line-up, especially the medium-pace attack, has a settled look. The teamís fielding can be better when compared to its last match.
Knight Riders, struck by poor batting form in the initial stages, has regained its composure thanks to the form in which Ganguly, David Hussey and Laxmi Ratan Shukla are in.
Wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha too got runs in earlier matches. The worry has been the failure of the opening pair to give a flying start.
The team should address the issue at the earliest as it would play some tough matches in the next few days.
It is indeed anybodyís guess how the teamís think-tank will accommodate Shoaib Akhtar in the playing XI on Tuesday.
The fielding has given Knight Riders a cutting edge. And coupled with Gangulyís imaginative field placing, no wonder the opposing team finds it hard to score runs.
The real threat for the match comes in the form of rain. Since the rain-reduced game against Royal Challengers on May 8, rain continues to drench the city.
The pitch is sure to retain moisture and the toss may prove crucial.