The fifth season of the Indian Premier League is headed into its playoffs stage after seven weeks of cricket saw the league matches being played. Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders will clash in the first qualifier on Tuesday, with the winner guaranteed a spot in the final. The loser will not go home either and instead get another chance to push its claim.
Much like the 2009 season, Delhi Daredevils dominated the points table throughout to finish at the top. They have also looked like the most settled unit of all the teams with a rich balance of experience and youth in the various departments.
Virender Sehwag, the captain, has scored 484 runs so far with the help of five centuries. In addition, the likes of David Warner and Ross Taylor provide plenty of firepower with the bat. Morne Morkel has been the stellar performer with the ball, picking up 25 wickets. Umesh Yadav has almost gone unnoticed in Morkel’s presence, though Yadav has 17 wickets.
After some hiccups early in the season, Kolkata Knight Riders found a good rhythm going that saw them finish in second place. Gautam Gambhir has been the standout performer with the bat, scoring six half-centuries is the tournament’s highest run-scorer from the players whose teams are still active.
Jacques Kallis and Brendon McCullum have supported him well at the top while Yusuf Pathan has remained inconsistent. Sunil Narine has been the Knight Riders’ go-to man in every situation with his variations being difficult for the opponents to read. He is second on the wicket-takers list with 22 wickets.
Overall, both teams have the ability to run riot on their given day but will be wary of the challenge posed by their opposition nevertheless. Both sides won one game each in the head-to-head meetings this year. The match will be played in Pune, starting at 8.00pm.