Gambhir out to make a statement against Delhi

New Delhi: Kolkata Knight Riders captain Gautam Gambhir would be keen to prove a point by putting up a solid performance against his old franchise Delhi Daredevils when the two teams square off in an Indian Premier League match at the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium here tomorrow.

Gambhir, who got a cold shoulder from Daredevils during the Players Retention and auctions, will definitely want to make a stament and a captain`s knock against his best buddy Virender Sehwag`s side will be just perfect to do that.

The Delhi Daredevils management, which by now must have realised that they botched up big time during the Players` Auction, would certainly be regretting not retaining Gambhir.

On paper, the fourth-placed KKR can be termed as favourites against the Daredevils who are now second from last in the league table.

But even after the third week of the tourney set to get over, there hasn`t been any clear indication about which way the tournament is veering towards.

A couple of victories can change the position of a team overnight as Royal Challengers Bangalore realised after their back-to-back wins.

With only two points separating the teams (KKR now have 6 points to DD`s 4), a win for KKR will help them consolidate their position after back-to-back defeats at home against Kochi Tuskers Kerala and Royal Challengers Bangalore.

For Sehwag and Company, this will be a make-or-break match as they can`t afford to lose too many having already ended second best on four occasions.

However, both teams especially KKR need to look at their team composition which might be a reason for their inconsistent performance.

If one looks at KKR, Eoin Morgan has been the weak link among the four foreign recruits. With Jacques Kallis, Brad Haddin and Shakib Al Hasan automatically selecting themselves, one would expect Brett Lee to make it to the playing XI at the expense of Morgan as the Kotla track now is offering some help to the pacers.

Morgan hasn`t really lived upto expectations as he has failed to provide the necessary momentum in the middle order.

Skipper Gambhir would expect that Yusuf Pathan, who showed glimpses of what he is capable of during the RCB match, to fire once again.

In the bowling department, Lakshmipathy Balaji will definitely not try too many variations as he did against RCB and that too with disastrous results. Shakib, who is jointly KKR`s leading wicket-taker with seven scalps, will also like to get his rhythm back after getting a thrashing from Gayle in the previous match.

The main worry for Delhi will certainly be opposition skipper Sehwag who can singlehandedly destroy any attack. The Kings XI Punjab got a taste of Sehwag blitzkrieg and KKR would expect that it doesn`t strike them.

David Warner could also pose a few problems if he gets going.

On the bowling front, the move to spend USD 1.9 million on comeback man Irfan Pathan has backfired badly and is now haunting them. Local boys such as Unmukt Chand and Yogesh Nagar also haven`t done enough for the team management to have faith in their abilities.

Even the pace attack is thin on experience with both Ashok Dinda and Umesh Yadav lacking the experience to come up trumps in pressure situations.

But the fans can still expect a cracker of a contest as best of buddies Gambhir and Sehwag gear up in their bid to out-think each other.

Teams (from):

Delhi Daredevils: Virender Sehwag (c), Morne Morkel, Irfan Pathan, Ashok Dinda, Travis Birt, Colin Ingram, Robert Frylinck, Roelof van der Merwe, Matthew Wade, Andrew McDonald, Ajit Agarkar, Y Venugopal Rao, Umesh Yadav, Aaron Finch, Naman Ojha, Vikas Mishra, James Hopes, David Warner, Unmukt Chand, Robin Bist, Varun Raymond Aaron, Aavishkar Salvi, Rajesh Pawar, Sridharan Sriram, Yogesh Nagar, Vivek Yadav, Ajit Chandila.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (c), Jacques Kallis, Manvinder Bisla, Manoj Tiwary, Yusuf Pathan, Eoin Morgan, Shakib-al-Hasan, Iqbal Abdulla, Rajat Bhatia, Brett Lee, Laxmipathy Balaji, Ryan ten Doeschate, Brad Haddin, James Pattinson, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Shreevats Goswami, Pradeep Sangwan, Shami Ahmed and Jaidev Unadkat.