The Knights are here. After conquering the Kings XI, they face the Delhi Daredevils in their den, which, with the onset of April is turning into hell.
Cricket-wise, the contest, the first between them this season, is expected to be even, if form and strength are considered. Both began well, lost track in a few games, but eventually got back to winning ways before coming here. While the Kolkata Knight Riders thrashed bottom-rankers Kings XI on Saturday night, the Daredevils bested the then table-toppers Royal Challengers on Thursday.
Star-for-star, they are equally matched with a Chris Gayle for Virender Sehwag, Shane Bond for Dirk Nannes, Sourav Ganguly for Gautam Gambhir (if he plays).
Yet, something in the Daredevils' batting makes it a better bet - the presence of big-hitting match-winners and the arrival of another international option, Paul Collingwood.
The Englishman is back
following his national duties in Bangladesh and on Sunday, wasted little time in stating the obvious. “The last match gave us a lot of confidence.” Gambhir, out of the last three games due to a hamstring injury, will be needed at the Kotla where the Daredevils have lost both their matches. He trained, held onto some catches in the morning at Bharat Nagar, but remained non-committal.
Coach, Greg Shippard, however, exuded confidence. “He is looking better and getting closer to being fit. He might play tomorrow, but definitely will in the next match,” he said.
Monday’s match will be a crowd puller. It's not just the big hitters who'll be the attraction, but the big Bollywood element that the Knight Riders are tagged with — Shah Rukh Khan. Whether the celluloid king will be there to egg on the band of blue-and-gold is not known, but the crowd is likely to throng in expectation of him.