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Devils ready for Knights out

Gambhir and Sehwag will be ranged against each other this time and the Pune fans will hope to enjoy an anxious contest as they look to lead their team to victory in the first qualifier of the IPL today. Amol Karhadkar reports. Face off

india Updated: May 22, 2012 01:36 IST
Amol Karhadkar

Just like Jai-Veeru, the famous duo in Bollywood blockbuster Sholay, they have emerged as the deadly combination in the India team over the last few years. While Gautam Gambhir fits the description of Jai - the angry young man - perfectly, Virender Sehwag is as powerful yet jovial and chirpy, more like the character of Veeru.

However, the two batsmen will be ranged against each other this time and the Pune fans will hope to enjoy an anxious contest as they look to lead their team to victory in the first qualifier of the Indian Premier League on Tuesday and seal a final berthwithout ado.

Intense affair
The contest is set to be intense for a variety of other reasons as well.

Neither Sehwag's Delhi Daredevils nor Gambhir's Kolkata Knight Riders have featured in an IPL final so far, so to be assured of a place in the finale to be played in Chennai will be the biggest motivation for both sides.

Moreover, with the two Delhi batsmen leading their teams from the front, as the highest run-getters for their respective sides, the onus will be on them to repeat the heroics in what could well be the first of the possible two face-offs between the teams.

Set for an encore
Sehwag, down with fever for Delhi's penultimate league game and rested for the last game, would look to repeat the classic knock he produced against the Pune Warriors at the venue earlier in IPL V.

He showed in Monday's nets that he was close to shaking off the side effects of the antibiotics he has been forced to take over the last week.

Gambhir will be eager to take his team one step farther than last year, by coming good against the team from his hometown, which he led more than once during a three-year stint.

But he will be more at ease, having played and won at the venue on Saturday.

DD's bowling
The Daredevils' pace artillery has emerged as the best fast-bowling unit in the tournament. However, with the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium pitch having got lower and slower, the spinners have come into the equation more often in the latter half of the season.

In that respect, the Kolkata Knight Riders has an edge as hardly any batsman in the tournament has been able to pick the unorthodox spin of Sunil Narine.

However, if Jai and Veeru get going, they are sure to overshadow the bowlers and guarantee a thriller.

Viru, Ross fit to play
PTI adds: Delhi Daredevils head coach Eric Simons confirmed that skipper Virender Sehwag and New Zealand batsman Ross Taylor have recovered from their bouts of flu and will be playing in the match on Tuesday.

"We didn't have an extended practice session for them. They had light practice as both were recovering from bouts of flu. We are confident that they would be fine," Simons said, while hoping that the duo will click in the important game.

The Daredevils have been the most consistent team in the group league stage but Simons would tell you that it won't have any bearing when the two teams square off at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium.