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Daredevils to take on MI today

A Delhi-Mumbai tie in Ranji Trophy is usually at the top of the charts. In the IPL, the contest between these two metros should be electrifying. But Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai Indians' skipper, thinks this masala mix won't mean the renewal of rivalry. “No, it is definitely not like the Ranji Trophy.” Khurram Habib reports.

cricket Updated: Mar 17, 2010 12:55 IST
Khurram Habib

A Delhi-Mumbai tie in Ranji Trophy is usually at the top of the charts. In the IPL, the contest between these two metros should be electrifying. But Sachin Tendulkar, the Mumbai Indians' skipper, thinks this masala mix won't mean the renewal of rivalry. “No, it is definitely not like the Ranji Trophy.”

Despite Tendulkar's insistence on it being just like any other game, there is a feeling about this game having potential to be the best of the season.

The two come in with a cent per cent record and both have stars enough to light up a midweek night.

“The confidence is high. We are working together,” said Tendulkar, seemingly relaxed after a win over 2008 champions, Rajasthan Royals in the first game at home.

The rampaging Daredevils, however, will be tough nuts to crack. Possessing some of the best in the business, they are on a roll, having tamed Kings XI Punjab and Rajasthan Royals in their dens.

Both Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag, the current and former Daredevils skippers, stamped their authority in the first two games — Gambhir's composure, steering his team against Kings XI, and Sehwag's pyrotechnics, helping his side gallop to a win over the Royals.

Them and the rest of the batting comprising Tillakaratne Dilshan (a bit of a worry with his two successive ducks), AB de Villiers and Dinesh Karthik among others, could be a worry for Tendulkar. Especially after the way Yusuf Pathan terrorised their bowling in the first match and nearly won it for Shilpa Shetty. “I don't think bowling is a worry,” said the master. “Harbhajan Singh had to leave the field. His four overs had to be adjusted. In this match Harbhajan will be back.”

Delhi's bowling, led by Dirk Nannes has been impeccable so far, having succeeded in getting early breakthroughs so necessary in this format. But here, they are against Sachin and Sanath, two men, who have set the world's best to flight. So how things pan out will only be known, when the old-world Kotla dons up garish make-up for the IPL-III.