Friend vs Friend: Daredevils led by mercurial Sehwag take on Gambhir-led Knight Riders in IPL playoff

It’s mercurial Virender Sehwag versus doughty Gautam Gambhir as Delhi take on Kolkata in the IPL playoff qualifier here on Tuesday, writes The Times Of India.

“Last season, the two Team India openers were in the eye of a storm after it was revealed that they played the fourth edition of the IPL despite carrying injuries. A year later, they have turned their individual fortunes around and led their teams to the top of the table in the league stage.  Not only have Sehwag and Gambhir been injury-free, they have been among runs as well. With a tally of 556 and 484 runs respectively, Gambhir and Sehwag are the leading run-getters among the teams that have made it to the playoff stage,” adds TOI.

“The Nawab of Najafgarh has often heaped praise on his younger India teammate and Gambhir has reciprocated the admiration. The left-handed batsman, who had hit a long rough patch following his domineering performances in 2007-09 on the international stage, has shown signs of recapturing his form,” says the paper.

Meanwhile Indian Express writes that Delhi and Kolkata -- neither team, so far, has experienced whatever it must feel like to participate in an IPL final. “This year, one of them surely will. And the other, the loser of Tuesday’s Qualifier, will get another chance to state their case. It only seems fair that this should end this way. But both teams would still be desperate to leave victorious. Last year, winning the first Qualifier put Chennai Super Kings at a distinct advantage over Royal Challengers Bangalore, who during the final showed palpable fatigue from playing their third match in five days,” writes Express, adding that Delhi and Kolkata are tied 1-1 from their league encounters this season, each winning their away fixture.

“Conditions at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium are likely to present both teams with stiff challenges. Apart from becoming progressively slower through the season, the wicket here has also been offering more and more turn. But in their own, vastly different ways, Delhi and Kolkata are probably the best equipped teams to exploit this.”

Meanwhile a report in The Tribune says that in a season which has been marred by unsavoury incidents off the field, the IPL's cricketing climax promises to be quite a treat with heavyweights making the last four.

“And no better than Delhi and KKR to kick off the business end of the event as the two teams have without doubt been the most consistent performers in the Twenty20 league this season. Both the teams boast of explosive batting line-ups. Their bowling attacks have also done exceptionally well in a format which is considered punishing for the bowlers,: says the report, adding that on paper, the sides match up pretty well and it promises to be a battle of equals.

“If Delhi has the brutality of captain Virender Sehwag and David Warner, Kolkata have the answer in Brendon McCullum. If Mahela Jayawardene lends stability to Delhi's batting order, Kolkata captain Gautam Gambhir has been equally inspirational for his team.”