Knight Riders vs Daredevils: It is a different feeling to have Gautam as my opponent, says Sehwag

Delhi Daredevils skipper Virender Sehwag says that though they didn’t have a great season last year, they will come up with good and spirited performance in IPL-5. In a column in The Times Of India Sehwag writes, “We did not have a great season last year, but all that is behind us now. It is time to look ahead and I am positive that we will come up with the goods this time.  Our first game versus Team Kolkata is an interesting match-up given that they will be led by a very close friend, Gautam Gambhir. It is a different feeling to have him as my opponent,” says Sehwag, adding that though last year KKR beat Daredevils in a low-scoring match, they would be looking to improve their performance this time around in the opener.

“The first couple of games are crucial in such a tournament, to get some momentum going. More so for us, given that some of our top players like Kevin Pietersen, Mahela Jayawardene and David Warner will not be available.  We have a strong fast bowling line-up, one which will not only create headaches for the best of the opposition, but also make my life a tad difficult in deciding who makes it to the playing 11,” said Sehwag, adding that Yusuf Pathan will be one player who can turn games around for Kolkata with his explosive batting.

Meanwhile, Sourav Ganguly in his column in Hindustan Times writes that Kolkata Knight Riders have an edge, at least on paper, against the Delhi Daredevils in their opening match at home. “With Brendon Mccullum in the side, KKR can hope for a blistering start in every game. With the Kiwi coming in, Jacques Kallis and Gautam Gambhir will be able to play more freely and concentrate on anchoring the side to a planned target. Brendon at the start, Yousuf Pathan in the middle and KKR have the firepower in batting. Kallis and Gambhir have shown recently that they are in fine touch. Add to this Manoj Tewari and the man in form this season, the late-order blaster, Laxmi Ratan Shukla. Delhi will really need to bowl well to dig deep into this batting line-up,” writes Ganguly, adding that another man who will be a big bonus to this team is Shakib-al Hasan.

“The Bangladeshi is a huge utility player and KKR will find it difficult to leave him out. Two things will be crucial for KKR. First, how the Eden Gardens wicket behaves. Last year, it was not a favourable T20 wicket and the ball kept low and slow. Secondly, Gambhir's captaincy will hold centrestage. The young opener has lost his national team vice-captaincy and he would like to show the world that he is a candidate not to be ignored.”

Meanwhile according to a report in HT, double-bounce delivery is out of the premier league. “Till now, it was one of the funniest deliveries in cricket — the ball bouncing twice before reaching the batsman. Some smart bowlers have mastered it and converted it into a deceptive weapon in the limited-overs format. However, these bowlers will not be allowed to use this trick this season after the IPL committee decided the doublebounce delivery will be declared a no-ball, revealed a senior league official, although it's a legitimate ball in international cricket,” says the report.

“When released, the delivery looks the easiest to hit out of the park. The ball lands so short the batsman's eyes light up, but it dies just in front of him. And if he's committed to the stroke, he ends up with a mis-hit,” it adds.

According to a report in TOI, Team Delhi have slashed the marquee ticket prices. “In a bid to get back packed stands during the Indian Premier League, Team Delhi team has slashed down the cost of marquee tickets by Rs 7,000 for weekdays and Rs 5,000 for weekend games to be played at the Ferozeshah Kotla,” says the report.

According to GMR marketing officials, the prices have been brought down to “correct what went wrong last season.”

“The marquee tickets last season, irrespective of the day of the week, were sold at Rs 25,000. Now, they will cost Rs 18,000 for weekdays and Rs 20,000 for weekends. Given the fact that five of the eight matches at the Kotla will be played on weekdays, the hiked prices for weekend games would try to compensate for the significant rollback. However, cost of the lowest-priced tickets has been marginally increased. Tickets sold for Rs 300 during the last season are now available at Rs 400,” says the report.