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Delhi overwhelming favourites against battered Kolkata

cricket Updated: May 10, 2009 04:15 IST
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Unbeaten in its past three matches, Delhi Daredevils' winning streak is unlikely to face much challenge from a battered Kolkata Knight Riders when the two sides square off in an Indian Premier League match in Johannesburg today.

Daredevils and Knight Riders faced each other for the first time in the competition on Tuesday and Brendon McCullum's men, without a win for the past seven matches, were completely outplayed by the Delhi side.

With a semifinal berth out of bounds for Kolkata, the team would be playing to restore some of the lost pride against a side, which has emerged as a strong contender for the title with its consistent show.

Such has been Delhi's domination that it has remained unaffected by a bowler of Glenn McGrath's stature being reduced to a bench-warmer.

Skipper of England's Twenty20 World Championship squad Paul Collingwood came and left without padding up even once but Delhi remains unfazed.

A rookie pacer in Dirk Nannes has done the job for it with the ball and Delhi has been more than happy to give him a spot in the playing XI ahead of McGrath.

Collingwood, meanwhile, never seemed required in a line-up that already boasts of Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, David Warner and Tillakaratne Dilshan.

Kolkata, on the other hand, is in desperate search for that one match winner who can turn things around for the beleaguered side, which lies at the bottom of the table.

The pressure of captaincy seems to have silenced McCullum's bat significantly and Sourav Ganguly too has not come up with anything extraordinary so far.

The explosive Chris Gayle is gone and the only positive development for the side in a while is the availability of Australian David Hussey, who is expected to be inducted immediately into the struggling line-up.

Poor batting has meant that the bowlers have had very little role to play in deciding the Kolkata's fortune even though the likes of Ishant Sharma have not done too bad.

On current form, Delhi, a semifinalist last year, is certain to make the cut even this time around. In contrast, Kolkata is fighting a grim battle to avoid being at the bottom of the heap.

The contrasting form makes Delhi an overwhelming favourite tomorrow and it would be nothing short of a stunner if Kolkata manage to pull off that elusive win.