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Kings in Devils’ territory

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2009 15:41 IST
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Atreyo Mukhopadhyay
Hindustan Times
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Every IPL game is big because there is so much at stake, but the one taking place at Kingsmead on Thursday is special because it features two crack teams — Delhi Daredevils and Chennai Superkings. Both appear to be well balanced and possess enviable firepower in all departments.

On paper at least the Daredevils have an explosive batting order that starts firing from the top with openers Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir being in murderous form. They have depth in batting too and to make things intriguing, they will be up against a side which has the attack to test them.

Makhaya Ntini and Muttiah Muralitharan are big names who have excelled against the best of international cricket and the contest between these Superkings bowlers and the daredevils in the Delhi team's batting lineup has the potential to serve up some mouthwatering stuff.

Superkings coach Stephen Fleming admitted that the Daredevils openers are a threat “to any cricket team in the world in any form of the game” but didn't forget to remind at the same time that they also “give the bowlers a chance” to get them out. “And once you get them anything can happen,” said the former New Zealand captain.

With most of the talk centering around the batting of the Daredevils, the same strength of the Superkings is getting overlooked. They too have some heavy pounding material in Matthew Hayden, M.S. Dhoni Andrew Flintoff and Suresh Raina, who are capable of mass destruction on any given day.

Having said that, these batsmen will also have some serious stuff to contend with because the Daredevils have handy bowling options in Daniel Vettori and Glenn McGrath, who has so far been seen mainly as a bowling coach instead of a member of the playing XI. The rest of the attack though remains a concern because they bowled too short too often against Kings XI.

It was bright and sunny here on Wednesday with forecasts saying it would remain the same for the next few days. After the damp disappointment on Tuesday, it seems as if the fans are in for a treat on Thursday when the big ones cross swords.