Delhi have to contend with Narine in qualifier today

May 22, 2012, 10:00 IST | Shreeram Gokhale

Besides having to solve the Narine puzzle, Delhi worried about fresh pitch in Pune for today's qualifer vs Kolkata

The league stage is now over, and the business end of Indian Premier League-V gets underway at the Subrata Roy Sahara stadium here today, with a battle between the tournament’s two best teams.

Trump card : Will IPL-V’s second highest wicket-taker Sunil Narine spin KKR into the final? Pic/Atul Kamble

Both sides are tied 1-1 at league stage in IPL-V, Delhi Daredevils beat Kolkata Knight Riders by just a point in the points table (22 to 21) and there is hardly anything that can separate these two sides, perhaps, except the spin department. Spinners, in IPL as a whole, and on this pitch in particular, have had a very crucial role to play throughout the tournament, and that is one department where KKR have a slight advantage.

They clearly have a lot more quality and variety in the spin department, compared to DD. Most of the batsmen have struggled to pick Sunil Narine throughout the tournament, DD included. The West Indian mystery spinner has picked up 22 wickets in the tournament so far, and he, along with left-arm spin duo of Iqbal Abdulla and Shakib al Hasan, would be difficult to score of on the slow, low track here. However, that is not a major concern for DD’s head coach Eric Simons. “We got to see the pitch, we are going to play on a fresh pitch tomorrow, so let’s see how it behaves,” Simons said.

However, sources among ground staff confirmed that the fresh pitch would more or less be the same as the other pitches used in the tournament so far. “The kind of quality we have, I was confident of defending 120 against Pune Warriors India here,” KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir had said couple of days back.

Well, the DD batting obviously has a lot more fire power than PWI. In Virender Sehwag, they have a batsman, who can handle spin well, and for whom, pitch or quality of opposition bowling hardly matters. And his good friend, and KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir would know that. DD also have another very good player of spin bowling in Sri Lankan skipper Mahela Jayawardene. KKR spinners vs DD’s batting might well be the decisive factor in this game between two sides that are full of match-winners.  

Gambhir’s wishlist
>> Narine continues fine rhythm
>>  Scores another fifty
>>  Dismiss Virender Sehwag early
>>  All-rounder Shakib fires
>>  Deny Morne Morkel wickets

Sehwag’s wishlist
>>  Dismiss Gautam Gambhir early
>>  Take at least 30 runs off Narine
>>  Yusuf Pathan continues to flop
>> Ross Taylor is fit to play
>>  Umesh Yadav fires again 

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