Two Delhi boys will be out on the field for the toss, only that they will be on the opposite sides. Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have had a long history of playing together. They have joined forces to play together for the Delhi Ranji team, for Team India as well for the Delhi Daredevils.
The fourth season of the IPL pitted them against each other with Gautam Gambhir's Kolkata Knight Rides beating the Daredevils. The match was just an indication as to how the two teams fared as the season wore on. Kolkata played some of their best cricket to finish as the semi-finalists, their best ever finish in the IPL while on the other scale Delhi plummeted and ended up with the wooden spoon, their worst ever show in the history of the tournament.
Delhi Daredevils: The new year has signified new changes in the hierarchy of the Delhi outfit. Coach Greg Shipperd has left, Eric Simons has taken over as the main coach while T A Sekar returns as the mentor. Delhi has changed the face of the side that ended last in the previous seasons with a host of big names being signed in during the auctions as well as the transfer season that followed before and after the mega auctions.
The batting has emerged stronger with the likes of Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and Ross Taylor while the sensational new pace duo of India, Umesh Yadav and Varun Aaron will be the cynosure of all eyes in the bowling department. To say it in few words, the Daredevils are one team that can be expected to sizzle in the tournament.
Team News: Delhi will be missing all the riches in the first week of the tournament though. Kevin Pietersen and Mahela Jayawardene are away in the middle of the Test series in Colombo while Ross Taylor is nursing a painful injury sustained when his left wrist was broken by his team-mate at Delhi, Morne Morkel during the 3rd Test at Wellington. He is expected to be sidelined for a major part of the tournament. Andre Russell was ruled out of the 2nd and final T20 against Australia with an hamstring injury and Team Delhi will be sweating on his fitness. The Daredevils have enough cover for the star absentees though with the Aussie duo of Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell at the forefront.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Kolkata turned in a new leaf in the 4th season grabbing the headlines for all the right reasons finally. They have a skipper who leads from the front and are aided by the ballistic presence of a man named Jacques Kallis. The strength of the team though lays in the form of its match-winning all-rounders. Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al hasan and Ryan Ten Doeschate form the crux of their middle order with support in the form of Manoj Tiwary.
If these riches were not enough, Kolkata will welcome back Brendon McCullum who slots back into the team after spending a year with the now defunct Kochi Tuskers. The bowling was their weakness in the last season and the team management has done well to attend to it with the inclusion of the West Indian mystery spinner, Sunil Narine.
Team News: Kolkata have a complete squad at their disposal and will be left with a tricky choice to select only 4 foreigners out of the roster. Brendon McCullum might open with Kallis pushing Gambhir down to number 3. Shakib is most likely to be preferred ahead of Eoin Morgan and Ryan Ten Doeschate with Lee and Narine making up the rest. Iqbal Abdulla impressed in the last season and will look at this season with renewed hope and confidence.
I was not expecting to play against him in the very first match. That's the only game of cricket in my life which I don't enjoy. This is a game where I can't handle it: Irfan Pathan is nervous as he squares up against his elder brother, Yusuf.
First time, I saw the vice-captain was dropped after losing. Usually the captain is dropped after losing. I don't understand what made the selectors to drop him: Wasim Akram urges Gautam Gambhir to prove his captaincy credentials by leading Kolkata to victory in IPL 5.
Kolkata Knight Riders (From): Gautam Gambhir(c), Sarabjit Ladda, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Rajat Bhatia, Manvinder Bisla, Debabrata Das, Marchant de Lange, Brad Haddin, Iqbal Abdulla, Jacques Kallis, Brett Lee, Eoin Morgan, Brendon McCullum(w), Sunil Narine, Yusuf Pathan, James Pattinson, Pradeep Sangwan, Shakib Al Hasan, Laxmi Shukla, Ryan ten Doeschate, Manoj Tiwary, Jaidev Unadkat, Chirag Jani, Sanju Samson, Iresh Saxena
Delhi Daredevils (From): Virender Sehwag(c), Varun Aaron, Ajit Agarkar, Robin Bist, Gulam Bodi, Doug Bracewell, Unmukt Chand, Aaron Finch, Mahela Jayawardene, Glenn Maxwell, Morne Morkel, Shahbaz Nadeem, Yogesh Nagar, Prashant Naik, Naman Ojha(w), Irfan Pathan, Kevin Pietersen, Andre Russell, Aavishkar Salvi, Ross Taylor, Roelof van der Merwe, Venugopal Rao, Vikas Mishra, David Warner, Tejashwi Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Travis Birt, Colin Ingram, Manprit Juneja, Puneet Bisht, Pawan Negi, Kuldeep Raval