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Devils look for redemption

india Updated: Apr 28, 2011 01:39 IST
N Ananthanarayanan

Virender Sehwag, the explosive batsman that he is, has always been positive. But the Delhi Daredevils skipper's anxiety levels are shooting up as the team's chances of finishing among the top four and making it to the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs diminish.

The failure to shut out a determined Royal Challengers Bangalore on Tuesday showed there were too many rough edges to sort out. Two wins out of six games means they are dredging the points table. And three defeats on home turf have hurt self-belief as well.

If Tuesday's defeat was seen as the revenge of ex-Daredevils like Daniel Vettori, Virat Kohli and Tillakaratne Dilshan, Thursday's game against the Kolkata Knight Riders will pit two close friends and Delhi stalwarts against each other.

Sehwag acknowledged fellow Test opener Gautam Gambhir will be fiercely competitive as he looks to prove a point at the Ferozshah Kotla.

"Playing against him (Gambhir) will be challenging. He is a very good player and a very good fielder as well," he said. "Hopefully, we'll get a good track and put runs on the board."

Sehwag knows runs and more runs are the only way to escape the current plight. He also knows that the KKR have also lost steam, having won just three games out of six.

Shah Rukh Khan's side have promised much, delivered little this season. Their previous match against RCB was a blur. Chris Gayle ensured that with his century. Coming in as an injury replacement, he left the Eden Gardens crowd aching. The Delhi fans will empathise, having endured their own team's failure to sew up matches.

One game at a time
KKR coach, Dav Whatmore, has avoided even casting an eye on the points table.

It does not look pretty for his team either. "We play each game as it comes. That will give you points. We are not worried about the table. That will be dictated by what happens in the middle."

Bowling is an area where KKR can look to tilt the balance. A slower pitch this time will ensure that seamers and spinners alike will be rewarded if they are disciplined.

After the loss to Bangalore, Sehwag was livid with the way his bowlers squandered the advantage.

He defended all-rounder Irfan Pathan, who has been a shadow of his old self, with his bowling in particular letting down the Daredevils time and again.