Sehwag-Warner, Gambhir-Kallis hold the key to IPL playoff contest: Shastri

Top order holds the key in Delhi-Kolkata qualifier, writes Ravi Shastri in The Times Of India. “Late rallies from Delhi and Kolkata this IPL have been rare. If the top three haven’t done well, there have been little props down the order. Virender Sehwag and David Warner, Gautam Gambhir and Jacques Kallis arguably hold the key to this contest. More so, since spinners can cause panic in the middle overs. One of them ought to look to bat through majority of the overs,” writes Shastri, adding the strip in Pune, worryingly, looked extremely slow in the last game when Kolkata, despite a low score, prevailed with ease. If it’s the same strip in use to spot the first finalists of IPL-5 on Tuesday, then Kolkata would be buoyed.

Meanwhile Sourav Ganguly writes in Hindustan Times that both Delhi and KKR have few big names in their ranks but to me the key for both the sides will be their skipper. Delhi will breathe easy during their batting as long Sehwag will be at the crease. “This is not to undermine the likes of Warner, Mahela or a Ross Taylor. They are all capable players but with Sehwag staying on at the crease there is always extra pressure on the opponents. He can run away with the game anytime with his bat in any given situation. But, Gautam is one who values his wicket very much, hangs on and plays a dogged innings to take his team to the desired target,” says Ganguly, adding that the Pune wickets have become a bit slow due to the constant wear-n-tear of so many matches so could play a part for teams batting second.

“But ultimately the decisive factor will be holding on to the nerves in such a crucial tie. Whichever team does that best will be one to come out winner.”

According to a report in The DNA, the pitch at the Subrata Roy Sahara Stadium may have been a low-scoring one so far but its image may change on Tuesday when Virender Sehwag-led Delhi Daredevils and Gautam Gambhir’s Kolkata Knight Riders lock horns in the first qualifier.

“Gambhir and Sehwag will show no mercy as they will be eying a spot in the final. The fact that both the first and second-placed teams hold similar strengths and weaknesses will make the encounter more interesting.”