The action will shift from Abu Dhabi to Sharjah when a completely new-look Delhi Daredevils side will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in the second match of the seventh edition of the Indian Premier League on Thursday.
Last season, Delhi finished at the bottom of the pile, managing to win only three of their 16 games. This time, with Pietersen at the helm of things along with Gary Kirsten as coach, Delhi will be aiming for a top-four finish.
The batting with Pietersen, Ross Taylor, JP Duminy leading the charge seems to be well-supported by Dinesh Karthik, Manoj Tiwary, Saurabh Tiwari and the highest run-getter of last season’s Ranji Trophy – Kedar Jadhav. When it comes to the bowling, Daredevils have in their ranks Mohammed Shami, Jaidev Unadkat, Nathan Coulter-Nile and all-rounder James Neesham.
The absence of Pietersen, however, does not mean that the match will be lacking in star power. In skipper Virat Kolhi, AB de Villiers, Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh, Royals Challengers Bangalore have the most dangerous batting line-up.
Spotlight on Yuvi
Of these players, Yuvraj’s progress will be keenly watched given the fact that he has a poor World T20 and was pilloried for his 11 off 21 balls in the final versus Sri Lanka In the auction, RCB broke the bank to buy Yuvraj for Rs 14 crores and it waits to be seen if spending that kind of money was a wise decision.
Bangalore also have in their ranks Australian pacer Mitchell Starc, whose ability to consistently bowl in the high 140s will come in useful.
The addition of South African all-rounder, Albie Morkel along with veteran off-spinner Mutthiah Murlitharan and West Indian medium pacer Ravi Rampaul has given Kohli a few more options to work with. RCB also have Ashoke Dinda, Varun Aaron, Sandeep Warrier, Abu Nechim and Harshal Patel, forming a battery of domestic pacers. Shadab Jakati and Yuzvendra Chahal make up the spinners for RCB.
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