These days the Delhi wicket has ceased to be an issue, primarily because the men in charge — the curator especially — have been doing a decent job.
Through the World T20 and the IPL, the mostly batting-friendly wickets have produced good cricket with a couple of matches running down to the wire thanks to brilliant hitting. One of them featured the hosts Delhi Daredevils on Wednesday night where a relatively lesser-known Chris Morris went berserk and brought his team strikingly close to the target from almost nowhere.
So when Gautam Gambhir returns to a surface he has grown up on and knows very well, he should be on a strong footing.
The Kolkata Knight Riders captain has been the main architect of his team’s success this season, scoring 294 runs in six games with three half-centuries while opening the batting. Thanks to his exploits, the team is placed in the top tier.
During his stint as Delhi captain, Gambhir has been known to play with the Kotla wicket — never his first-choice — choosing the kind that could ruffle the opposition. Here, however, he will walk on to the wicket that is dished out to him. With KKR playing their previous game only on Thursday night, Gambhir’s men recuperated as is the norm with teams playing matches on alternate days.
The contest will be between two former India players. Daredevils skipper Zaheer Khan’s spells have been a concern though he has come up with some great deliveries and his battle with Gambhir will be keenly watched. But as DD coach Praveen Amre said, “He is bowling the toughest overs, meaning he is leading from the front.”
The Daredevils, who have been the whipping boys over the past few seasons, are in the top half of the points table with six points.
While their bowling has clicked, they’ve lacked batting consistency. Barring the South Africans JP Duminy, Chris Morris and Quinton de Kock, no one has produced a good knock with the World T20 final star Carlos Brathwaite being forced to turn into a big under-achiever.
Brathwaite, who hammered four massive sixes at the Eden to finish off the final, has hit just one six and that remains his only scoring shot in three matches. For some odd reason Delhi have held him back, giving him no opportunity to bat.