The group stage of the Champions League is set for an explosive start as Delhi Daredevils get set to take on defending IPL champions Kolkata Knight Riders in the second game, on Saturday, October 13, at Centurion.
DD will rely on their enviable batting line up comprising the likes of Warner, Jayawardene, Pietersen, Sehwag and Taylor. While Pietersen did not play in the recent T20 World Cup, Sehwag had an injury concern towards the end of India’s campaign. However, Warner, Taylor and Jayawardene displayed sufficient form to send an ominous message to rival camps ahead of the Champions League.
Their bowling will rely on pace, led by one of the best new ball operators in the business, Morne Morkel, supported by Yadav and Aaron, both of whom did brilliantly well in the IPL.
For KKR, skipper Gambhir will seek to lead from the front and his side’s batting will rely on the twin pillars of Kallis and McCullum. The side will want Sunil Narine to replicate the form that won the West Indies the world cup, as KKR seek to give a good account of themselves in their first ever Champions League appearance. However, the wickets are likely to be less spin friendly than the ones they played on in the IPL and that’s a problem area for KKR whose new ball bowlers like Balaji and Bhatia lack the express pace to exploit the bouncier tracks in South Africa. Lee has not had sufficient match practice recently after the ODI tour of England, and against DD, KKR could prefer Shakib Hasan over the Aussie pacer.
With a 5-4 advantage in 10 past meetings between the sides – one match ending in a rain-hit tie — KKR have a statistical edge over DD. But that edge should account for little as both teams seek to regroup ahead of a new tournament played in conditions very different from those in the sub-continent.
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Jinxatious is the Chief Editor of SportingAttitude.com
An avid writer, on an eclectic range of subjects, he brings to bear editorial experience garnered with a national newspaper in South-East Asia. He also has sportscasting experience, as a cricket commentator, and his passion for sport extends beyond Cricket, to Football, Tennis, and Olympic Sports.