DD vs KKR – A Preview

Well, IPL 2013 has finally arrived. Less than 3 hours away is the first match of the season. Yaaaayyyyyy!!!! Anyway, this preview is something I have been itching to write for a long time, and now here it is. So let’s look the two teams: The Delhi Daredevils and the Kolkata Knight Riders. Both were relatively quiet, finishing with 3 and 2 players respectively. KKR brought in Sachithra Senanayake and Ryan McLaren, whereas DD roped Jesse Ryder, Jeevan Mendis, and Johan Botha.

Now let’s look at the teams. Delhi have had something to worry about in the form of their inexperienced middle order. Now without Ross Taylor, spots 4, 5, and 6 are quiet vulnerable, should the opposition bowling have the required quality. Also, Virender Sehwag is injured. So what I think should be done is this: plug in David Warner and Unmukt Chand to open the innings; and allow Mahela to drop to number 4. This should work, at least till Kevin Pietersen and Jesse Ryder get back. For their bowling, Morne Morkel will not play the opening game either. Hence, there is one more overseas spot up for grabs. This will most likely go to Roelof van der Merwe, who will form a good trio with Johan Botha and Pawan Negi to slow the ball down. Also, van der Merwe has exhibited excellent quality batting at number 3, which would really be of help to the Daredevils today. The pace bowling shouldn’t be too much of a worry, considering that DD now have Ashish Nehra, who will join hands with Umesh Yadav and Irfan Pathan to spearhead the visitors’ attack.

DD Potential XI:

Unmukt Chand

David Warner

Roelof van der Merwe

Mahela Jaywardene (c)

Venugopal Rao 

Naman Ojha (wk) 

Irfan Pathan

Johan Botha 

Pawan Negi

Ashish Nehra

Umesh Yadav

Umesh Yadav

KKR are considering becoming the “second CSK” this year as they try and defend their title. To do that, they will need a balanced and backed-up side like the one the two-times champions have got. However, for this first game at least, they will miss Brendon McCullum and James Pattinson, in addition to Shakib Al Hasan, who is away playing on national duty and will not return till May. It is most likely that Manvinder Bisla will keep wickets, and open with skipper Gautam Gambhir. This means that there are still two overseas slots left. One of these should go to Sachithra Senanayake, who was brought by the Knights at a massive $625,000. Senanayake will form a good spin duo with Sunil Narine. The other will most probably be Ryan McLaren, who had moderately good outings in South Africa’s recent clashes with Pakistan and New Zealand. Jacques Kallis – despite having just recovered from injury – should stand tall at number 3, while the middle order is filled by Manoj Tiwari, Debatra Das, and Yusuf Pathan – who is in desparate need of some form .

KKR Potential XI:

Gautam Gambhir (c)

Manvinder Bisla (wk)

Jacques Kallis

Manoj Tiwari

Yusuf Pathan

Debatra Das

Ryan McLaren

Rajat Bhatia

Sachithra Senanayake

Sunil Narine

L Balaji

CLASHES TO WATCH:

Irfan Pathan vs Gautam Gambhir: Irfan has wrecked the top order of many sides in the past, and will try to do the same today. However, if Gauti latches on to him, game on.

Sunil Narine vs Mahela Jaywardene: Narine is KKR’s most succesful spinner, and Mahela is easily DD’s best player of spin. It will be crucial that Mahela take on Narine, lest let his other inexperienced batsmen suffer his wrath. Although Narine has breached Mahela’s defences before, the latter can still take on spinners very well. Let’s see what happens today.

David Warner vs L Balaji: David Warner is one of those batsmen who likes to latch onto bowlers from ball one. However, if Balaji can repeat his heroics from last year and defuse Warner early on, nothing like it.

Yusuf Pathan vs Johan Botha: Yusuf Pathan is now in a really desperate need of some form. Now with Shakib’s absence, Yusuf is the platform for KKR’s middle-order fight backs. Botha is easily DD’s best spinner at the moment, and if he comes down hard on the KKR line up, it will be Pathan’s duty to take him on.