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Daredevils hands down favourites against faltering Knights

Source: PTI
May 04, 2009 14:11 IST
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Delhi Daredevils will be overwhelming favourites against Kolkata Knight Riders, in disarray after six losses in eight matches, when the two sides lock horns in an Indian Premier League match in Durban on Tuesday.

A defeat against Chennai Super Kings in their last match notwithstanding, the Virender Sehwag-led Daredevils should have it easy tomorrow, given Kolkata's misery in the Twenty20 event so far.

The team's pathetic display has left owner Shah Rukh Khan so disappointed that he refused to come here and support Brendon McCullum and his men until they start winning.

Given Kolkata's form, it seems unlikely that Shah Rukh would make the trip.

To make it worse for them, Kolkata goes into tomorrow's match without Chris Gayle, the West Indian opener who has left for national duty against England.

His departure comes as a huge blow to the team, which desperately needs skipper McCullum and Sourav Ganguly to strike form.

Brad Hodge did well with a half-century against Kings XI Punjab but his solo effort could not win them the match and it is unlikely to do so even in the coming games.

With batsmen putting up a dismal show, Kolkata's bowlers have been left to make amends on most occasions but even the best of efforts by Ishant Sharma has not been able to compensate for the willow-wielders' shoddy performance.

Delhi also has its share of problems with Sehwag's form and fitness being a concern. The right-hander picked up a finger injury recently which kept him out of the match against Chennai Super Kings.

Sehwag has been struggling with the bat as well, having scored just 87 runs in the five matches he has played.

His fellow opener Gautam Gambhir has not been in very good touch either and Delhi needs the explosive duo to fire to go far in the tournament.

Much to their relief, David Warner sizzled in his IPL debut and it would be difficult, if not unfair, job now to drop the explosive Australian.

Delhi's problems in fact pale in comparison to Kolkata's woes. The team's on-field flop-show has taken a toll on the dressing room environment as well and Kolkata seems a house divided.

McCullum is wilting under the pressure of leading a side in turmoil and has already made it known that he would step down if he fails to take Kolkata to the semifinals.

But in a format best described as unpredictable, the laggards cannot be dismissed altogether even if they are up against a team, which has been described by many as the most balanced among the eight in fray.

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