IPL tests loyalty of the crowd, this time it is between Delhi DareDevil’s Sehwag and Kolkata Knight Riders Gambhir. On Saturday, the Kolkata Knight Riders were part of a match, at the Eden, where the fans had to choose between the home team and the home hero. A day after, the problem of the Delhi crowd will be somewhat similar when they will have to choose between two of its favourite sons – Virender Sehwag or Gautam Gambhir.
With both the teams through to the playoffs, a win for either will assert its supremacy over the other leading up to the knockout stage. To add to it, both the captains are in great form at the moment and have been playing crucial roles with the bat for their respective teams. While Sehwag, the undisputed king of Kotla, have scored 445 runs so far, Gambhir is not far behind with 421 runs against his name.
With 16 points, Delhi has enjoyed the view from the top of the points table for most of this season, coming out victorious with some jaw-dropping performances in eight of their 10 outings. The team, under the captainship of Virender Sehwag, has given its best with both bat and ball. Sehwag, the tournament’s second highest run-getter, has scored five consecutive half-centuries – a feat never achieved before in Twenty20 cricket. Same can be said about Kevin Pietersen, who has been instrumental in Delhi’s success; however, he won’t be available further in the tournament as the English batsman has flown back home to take on the West Indies. The DareDevils are lucky to find David Warner joining the team in time.
The season has seen Kolkata put in some good performances. Their unit consists of some big names, who – besides playing stellar roles to take the team to No. 2 on the leaderboard – have played their part in guiding the youngsters along. If Gambhir and Kallis have fine-tuned the batting, Brett Lee has shown youngsters the way as their bowling spearhead. As a result, batsmen like Debabrata Das and bowlers like Sunil Narine have become household names.
So the battle ground Kotla will be on fire when these two in-form teams come one-on-one. But the loyalty of the fans may be divided on Monday as both the captain and co-owner of KKR hail from Delhi. On that front, it remains to be seen whether the Delhi crowd gets behind Gambhir and Shah Rukh Khan’s team or shout for the home team that has done them proud this season.