DD, KKR to engage in a top-table battle

Feroze Shah Kotla will feature a mouth-watering clash between two teams hovering in the top half of the IPL points table and keen to sustain their 'momentum', Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders.

Kolkata Knight Riders, led by Gautam Gambhir, and Delhi Daredevils, led by Zaheer Khan, lie second and fourth respectively in the IPL points table.   -  K. R. Deepak

Is there a match in the Indian Premier League (IPL) that is not “important” or “crucial” or “significant”? Most captains and coaches want you to believe that no match is trivial. Of course it can’t be. No match can be trivial when there is so much at stake. All wins are big and all days are big. IPL is all about ‘big and important’ matches and we are now presented with one from the top drawer in this edition.

Delhi Daredevils versus Kolkata Knight Riders. Not the marquee match but a mouth-savouring cricket contest for the new generation of fans who display their ‘loyalty’ most vociferously and visibly – they don’t take chances and cheer both teams. They jump at fours and sixes and at the fall of a wicket. They need no reason to showcase their vocal cords and dancing skills. Cricket is only a tool of entertainment for them, a four-hour celebration that leaves them as drained as the players.

The players are hardly complaining though. If they win, it is fine. If not, then the loss becomes a “process.” It is this intriguing thing called process that amuses some of the old timers. The support staff has its own role of backing the team and the team backs its instincts as the cricket carnival traverses the country.

Defined roles

The batsmen have their roles defined. To absorb the pressure and respond robustly. After all, it is all power with the ball sailing into the galleries as if wanting to escape the wrath of the hitter. The bowlers have their roles defined, too – to put the ball in the right areas. Now, these right areas can be a flexible aspect. If the bowler is mauled, it can be defended as “a bad day at office.” If he ends up with a haul of two or three wickets, then the right areas become a huge hit. Actually the right areas depend on the stride and form of the batsman.

KKR has one such – skipper Gautam Gambhir, who is scoring in abundance but is wisely not looking at a national comeback. He is right. It can’t be based on his flourish in the IPL. The team has done enough to stay in the top three and Gambhir may look to impress the audience; some among them must have watched him grow at the Feroze Shah Kotla.

Daredevils is a different side this year in that it is winning. Skipper Zaheer Khan has been largely instrumental for this new image of DD. But the tournament is still in its initial phase and he would have to summon all his experience to keep the momentum going.

Momentum is another aspect often referred to by coaches and captains. As long as it helps a team exceed its potential, no one is complaining. Certainly not the spectators who can fill up the Kotla on Saturday for an entertaining weekend cricket feast as DD and KKR look to keep the “process” in place in an “important” game.

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