These two teams first met right at the beginning of the tournament, in the second match to be exact. Rain affected the game right from the start, and after waiting two and a half hours, it finally got under way. With both innings reduced to 12 overs, the Knight Riders crumbled immediately, and at 55/6 after 7 overs, were in danger of being bowled out within the measly 12 overs allocated. Shukla and Das hung around and added some pride to the innings and the Knight Riders finished on 97/9. A good opening partnership from Finch and Sehwag put the Daredevils on the right path before both were dismissed within an over of each other and put the remaining batsmen under run rate pressure. However Irfan Pathan hit 42 runs off of 20 deliveries to see the Daredevils home.
The teams met again, this time much later in the tournament, in the 51st match. The Daredevils batted first and the top order all chipped in with contributions, but the lower order fell away somewhat to leave the Daredevils wanting more. Their 153/9 off 20 overs was a fair total but the wicket was pretty good for batting, and they would’ve hoped for something around the 170-180 mark. The Knight Riders made easy work of the mediocre target, with McCullum, Gambhir and Kallis breaking the back of the total with smart contributions. In the end, the Daredevils were outplayed, and this memory will be fresh in their minds when these two teams meet again on Tuesday, this time the stakes are somewhat higher.
Knight Riders 1/1
The Daredevils have had a blockbuster of a season, and finished this year’s IPL on the top of the log. The first and second IPL’s saw the Daredevils reach the semi-finals, when that format was still in place, but they lost both. The next two years saw them fail to qualify, and indeed last year they finished stone last. It shows how quickly things can change in this circus of a tournament, with the Daredevils now sitting atop the pack.
|Another DLF maximum. Wait, |
how many runs is that again?
They also have the tournament’s best bowler in the form of a South African quick, Morne Morkel. His 25 wickets at an average of 16.00 have been integral to the Daredevils success this season, along with opening partner Umesh Yadav. They have struck fear into the hearts of most batsmen this tournament and Delhi will need them to continue to do so, if they are to make the final.
Last year’s tournament was the first in which the Knight Riders made it through the group stages, but they lost to the Mumbai Indians in the elimination match and so proceeded no further. This year they lie second, their highest ever finish, and with their victory over the Daredevils in the group stages, will be confident in displacing the top team and sealing their place in the final. However, with the nature of the playoffs, either team could get one more crack at the final through the Super Kings or the Indians, but neither will be placing their eggs in that uncertain basket.
Gautam Gambhir has been top of the Knight Riders’ run scorers list this tournament, and sits fourth in the overall standings, one above international opening partner and opposition kingpin, Virender Sehwag. He has been in fiery form throughout the tournament and his 566 runs at an average of 39.00 tell you just that. With six half-centuries in the tournament his run-scoring has been prolific, and with King Kallis waiting in the wings, the Knight Riders batting line-up has been among the best in the tournament.
The star bowler for the Knight Riders, who has been causing ripples in the cricket world with his enterprising play against the Australians and his noted absence in the West Indies line-up, is Sunil Narine. The young off-spinner has taken 22 wickets at a staggering average of only 11.95. Just as balance-challenging is his economy rate, which has cost the Knight Riders little at a mere 5.14 per over. If someone from the WICB reads this, can somebody offer this lad a central retainer contract already?
Qualifier 1 will be held at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium in Pune. It started a good wicket for batting; Sehwag knocked his highest score of 87 not out here for the Daredevils when they travelled to play the Warriors. However, the Knight Riders will be more familiar with how the pitch is playing currently, which is low and slow, as they won their game against the Warriors here on Saturday. Shakib Al Hasan was the difference between them two days ago, with Narine again choking up the runs.
BEST: Top Daredevils Batsman, David Warner 5/2
Warner only joined the IPL towards the beginning of this month, following a test series in the Caribbean. In his second game in the IPL this season, which was about a week and a half ago, he scored a magnificent 109 not out and scored 79 against the Kings XI on Saturday. The Australian is in some ominous form and may cause problems for the Knight Riders bowlers on Tuesday.
VERDICT: Knight Riders 1/1
I expect the Knight Riders to show the same astute tactics that brought them the win at the ground on Saturday. Spin in the form of Al Hasan and Narine should choke and frustrate the Dehli batting attack, while the Knight Riders have the type of batsmen that can squeeze out a decent target on a slow track. Back them at even money.
Written by @IAMaverickWhite for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!