Indian Premier League titans Delhi Daredevils will take on Royal Challengers Bangalore in IPL 7’s second match on Thursday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in Sharjah. Wednesday’s high-octane event opener between defending champions Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders was an indication that, despite being shifted to the UAE, the IPL is not an event to be underestimated. The atmosphere at Sharjah, which was one of the most electrifying hubs of cricket in the 90s, will be nothing short of phantasmagoric in tonight’s game. Here is a spotlight on the players who are expected to be the game changers in this nerve-cracking game. (Also Read: Karthik to lead Delhi Daredevils)
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Dinesh Karthik will be donning the Delhi Daredevils jersey for another season in the recent edition of IPL. Having started his IPL career with the Delhi franchise, the Chennai-born batsman has featured in 92 matches in which he has amassed 1,741 runs at an average of 25.23.
It is argued that Karthik’s batting stats do not justify his massive potential. However, he has been given far too many opportunities, both at the national and league level, to prove his worth.
He had a disappointing outing with India at the Asia Cup as he failed to grab the opportunity of stepping in Dhoni’s shoes as a formidable wicketkeeper-batsman.
He missed important stumping chances and also failed to convert his starts at crucial junctures. Taking his recent form into consideration, it was surprising that he was bought for a whopping 12.5 crores – the most expensive bid by Delhi Daredevils this season.
All eyes will be set on Karthik in the match, as he will have a lot to prove, yet again.
Ross Taylor –
IPL 7 marks the return of Ross Taylor in the Delhi Daredevils’ arsenal. One of the finest batsmen to emerge from New Zealand, Taylor’s natural playing style – a mixture of aggression and technical finesse – is taylor-made (pun intended!) for T20 cricket.
Since making his IPL debut for Royal Challengers Bangalore in 2008, the swashbuckling Kiwi has featured in 51 games, scoring 958 runs at an average of 25.89.
With Kevin Pietersen missing in action in DD’s opening game, the bulk of scoring will be on Taylor’s experienced shoulders. Can he make his selection count and reach 1,000 runs in IPL on Thursday? We will have to wait and watch.
Royal Challengers Bangalore –
Virat Kohli –
Given his impeccable form in recent times, it has become virtually impossible to exclude Virat Kohli from match previews.
He has scored heavily across all formats in India and overseas, proving himself to be one of the best batsmen in the world. However, he carries the additional responsibility of captaining the Royal Challengers Bangalore for another season this year.
Furthermore, Kohli will be itching to end RCB’s IPL title drought by starting their campaign with a win over the charismatic Delhi Daredevils. (Photos: Shah Rukh Khan organizes Virat Kohli’s swayamvar)
Yuvraj Singh –
It is tough to be in Yuvraj Singh’s shoes nowadays. His dismal form, coupled with scathing criticism from fans and experts following his performance in the ICC World T20 final, do not bode well for a successful IPL campaign.
The massive outpouring of sarcastic jokes on his selection in the RCB team after India’s World Cup rout was a mere inkling of the fans’ distraught.
As a captain, Virat Kohli has a huge responsibility of inspiring his beloved friend who has unfortunately become an object of vain mockery on social media networks.
Can Yuvi gather find renewed vigour and reinvigorate himself to become the champion that he once was?
Delhi Daredevils: JP Duminy, Kedar Jadhav, Kevin Pietersen, Manoj Tiwary, Mayank Agarwal, Milind Kumar, Murali Vijay, Ross Taylor, Saurabh Tiwary, James Neesham, Jayant Yadav, Laxmi Shukla, Dinesh Karthik, Quinton de Kock, HS Sharath, Jaydev Unadkat, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rahul Sharma, Rahul Shukla, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shami Ahmed, Siddarth Kaul, Wayne Parnell
Royal Challengers Bangalore : Nic Maddinson, Tanmay Mishra, Vijay Zol, Virat Kohli, Albie Morkel, Chris Gayle, Sachin Rana, Yuvraj Singh, AB de Villiers, Parthiv Patel, Yogesh Takawale, Abu Nechim, Ashok Dinda, Harshal Patel, Mitchell Starc, Muttiah Muralidaran, Ravi Rampaul, Sandeep Warrier, Shadab Jakati, Varun Aaron, Yuzvendra Chahal