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Desperate Delhi look to pitch it right at Kotla

Kings XI Punjab's current run of form will turn all their Indian Premier League rivals green with envy. But for Delhi Daredevils, their opponents on Saturday, it will be a Ferozshah Kotla pitch with a similar colour that will be the main focus. Ananthanarayanan reports. Match box

cricket Updated: Apr 23, 2011 01:34 IST
Ananthanarayanan

Kings XI Punjab's current run of form will turn all their Indian Premier League rivals green with envy. But for Delhi Daredevils, their opponents on Saturday, it will be a Ferozshah Kotla pitch with a similar colour that will be the main focus.

On the eve of the match, a track on the fringes of the square was covered in a plastic canopy. It is supposed to hold the key to a turn in fortunes for Daredevils, who lost to Deccan Chargers on a slow pitch on Tuesday.

Pace-oriented
The pitch was the centre of all conversation because the Daredevils' bowling attack is mainly pace-oriented, led as it is by South Africa opening bowler Morne Morkel. And the livelier pitch, it is hoped, will aid the seamers. However, Tuesday's defeat, which pushed the team to the bottom of the 10-team table, came more due to the top order batsmen's inability to provide a sound start. On the only occasion Daredevils managed that in their four matches, they chased down a victory target of 188 on a good pitch in Navi Mumbai.

"We've had a look at the wicket and it has got some dead grass," Daredevils coach Greg Shipperd told reporters. "I hope they will roll it sufficiently so that there is good bounce and carry. Then it will help the batsmen and the bowlers."https://www.hindustantimes.com/images/HTPopups/230411/23_04_11-metro-22c.jpg

No set batting order
Daredevils will once again look up to skipper Virender Sehwag to lead from the front. While most IPL games so far have been controlled by top order batsmen, a typically explosive start from Sehwag is what his team would be hoping for.

One problem the hosts seem to have is a lack of conviction about their batting order, after openers David Warner and Sehwag. It has been constantly shuffled from number 3 to 7, and that somewhat explains the lack of consistency from the batsmen.

Venugopal Rao has been the most steady middle-order batsmen for Daredevils, and the fact that he has mostly batted at number 5 has helped a lot. Settling the batting order will also help send a message to the players that the team management is willing to back them.

KXIP on a high
Kings XI Punjab would relish the prospect of taking on a demoralised Daredevils. Their top order is in roaring form and while Paul Valthaty has continued to provide the local flair, Shaun Marsh celebrated his comeback into the side with a match winning half-century.