New Delhi: Four defeats in five games is certainly not a happy homecoming for DD. The demanding Gautam Gambhir would have expected a better campaign. But if Delhi have to make a turnaround this IPL, this is the game and this is the moment. For another loss would make things complicated and very difficult for them. DD will have their task cut out, whether or not they are left with any margin for error. The reason for Delhi misfiring could be talked down to the fact that they have failed to string performances in unison. There have been days when the bowling stood up and on other days, just the batting. But all is not lost yet and with Ferozeshah Kotla a proven hunting ground, Delhi should hope that they put together a team show.
For Punjab, the only worry or should I say a slight tension would be their bowling. Even though they have restricted teams to sub-par totals, their death bowling has put them in trouble. They have gone for runs and that is where Delhi could exploit their weakness. The hosts will be banking on Jason Roy, Gambhir and Rishabh Pant to lay a perfect platform. To challenge a muscle-heavy KXIP, with Chris Gayle proving to be the main cog in the Punjab wheel, Delhi should at least aim 190-200. With the Kotla wicket a batting friendly venue, they will still have to fight to claim a win.
These are the three players to watch out for:
1. Chris Gayle: The Universe Boss is on a mission or it could be said that he is fighting to claim his respect back. He has transformed his game and is proving a tough nut to crack for the opposition. Because even if he plays a few dot balls, he cashes in on bad deliveries to stay ahead of the asking rate. With a century and 2 fifties in three games, Gambhir must have spent the entire Sunday night trying to figure out where can DD bowl against him. As of now, the only chink in his armour seems to be the seaming delivery leaving him from the good length. But the question is does DD have a bowler who can produce such stuff upfront? I say, bring back Mohammed Shami to boost your chances. What do you guys feel?
2. Rishabh Pant: The hard-hitting left-hander simply cannot afford to miss out on a start. Go through his report card and you would find ample evidence of him throwing away his wicket at crucial junctures. What DD need from him on Monday is a repeat of his effort against RCB, where he scored 85. Despite having got runs in the last three games, Pant has to ensure he just can't lose his wicket after getting set. Because if he stays, KXIP doesn't have a spinner who can put brakes on his power hitting. Also, he will have a score to settle against Mujeeb Ur Rahman, who picked him at Mohali with a googly. Caution Pant.
3. Jason Roy: To put KXIP under pressure, this man has to stay on the wicket. Even if he starts slow, he has to stick to the Kotla wicket. DD, even in their worst nightmares would want to imagine him walking out with his head down. Sample his Mumbai inning. He stood there and blasted the bowlers in the second half to make more than required. DD desperately need a win here and it is imperative Roy be told about it. In simple words, Roy has to do a Chris Gayle today! Period.
DD: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Rishabh Pant, Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Glenn Maxwell, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Vijay Shankar, Rahul Tewatia, Mohammad Shami, Trent Boult, Colin Munro, Daniel Christian, Jason Roy, Naman Ojha, Prithvi Shaw, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Avesh Khan, Manjot Kalra,
KXIP: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), AJ Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Chris Gayle.