When the top two teams meet in the league stage, the aims of both are quite clear. The top team wants to increase the gap between them and the number two team wants to join the other team at the top of the table. The Delhi versus Kolkata game will therefore be a needle game with both teams not giving an inch to the other.
The Delhi team also will play that little bit harder since 'their' Gautam Gambhir will be playing for the opposition. Only a couple of days back we saw that at the Eden Gardens’ Sourav Ganguly got a tremendous reception but most of the crowd wanted their team to win.
There could well be some playful banter between the two teams that could raise the competitive levels and make for an interesting game. Unlike Ganguly who has not been in the best of touch, Gambhir is batting delightfully. He is hitting the ball with precision and when he decides to go for the big shot he is making a sweet connection.
That the match will be a 8 pm start is also good for the batsmen of both teams as they won’t lose much energy as they seem to do when it is an afternoon start. Kolkata unleashed Marchant de Lange and he impressed on a sluggish pitch as he worked up some good speed. He is also a big fella so he gets to release the ball from a height which is not easy to pick the line and flight of the ball.
He has been competing for a place in the South African team with Morne Morkel since Dale Steyn and Vernon Philander are the two new ball bowlers. That makes it a battle within a battle which we have seen often in the IPL between other players vying for one place in their national teams.
Delhi will be without Kevin Pietersen who was in such wonderful touch and David Warner will take his place but how quickly the Aussie will get over the jet lag and play on the slower pitches will decide if Delhi will be able to put up big scores as they have been doing. Once again Sehwag will be the key and if KKR let him bat for a few overs, they could be on the backfoot straightaway.
The fielding also will be crucial. This IPL has seen some real easy catches being put down and that could be because of nerves as well as sweaty palms because of the heat. Guys like Sehwag and Gambhir cannot be given another chance for they will then turn the game in favour of their teams.
Professional Management Group