New Delhi: After losing a tight contest against Chennai Super Kings on Thursday night, Pune Warriors have flown two-and-a-half hours north to Delhi for their third consecutive away game. Warriors made an impressive start in the tournament with three wins out of four, but are now showing signs of homesickness. They have lost three consecutive away games and slipped to the fourth position after being on top for a while. That they are confronting a red-hot Delhi Daredevils team doesn't make their task any easier.
One of the concerns for Warriors is the form of their captain, Sourav Ganguly, who has scored only 85 runs this season. In Chennai, he faced 14 deliveries from the slow bowlers, his perceived area of strength, to score eight runs. He fell to left-arm spinner Shadab Jakati, managing to get the ball as far as mid-off. Against Daredevils, he won't have the luxury of facing much spin. Expect Virender Sehwag to unleash his fast bowlers on Ganguly.
Daredevils were lucky to get away with a win on Thursday against Deccan Chargers. Kevin Pietersen scored an unbeaten century after being dropped thrice while other big names faltered. Although they are at the top of the table, Sehwag would want himself and his team to put up a strong batting display to dispel doubts.
Players to watch
Ashish Nehra returns to his original home ground and his experience of playing at Kotla and with Sehwag will be important when Warriors devise their plans. Nehra made a good comeback in the previous match, picking up two wickets, after his horror last over in Bangalore.
Shahbaz Nadeem is flourishing under Sehwag. He has picked up five wickets in the last two matches while bowling at an economy of four. Nadeem's form has ensured that Daredevils haven't missed Roelof van der Merwe, allowing them to play Ross Taylor in his place.
Daredevils played Warriors twice in 2011. They won a high-scoring game by three wickets in Navi Mumbai and the other was washed out.
Stats and trivia
Irfan Pathan has bowled six maiden overs in all seasons of IPL, which is second behind Praveen Kumar's eight
Robin Uthappa has 33 dismissals, some way behind Adam Gilchrist who leads the list for most dismissals, 50, in IPL history
"The leadership he has brought to the team is fantastic. He is highly motivated and he wants to contribute. He is a knock away from showing what a world-class player he was", Allan Donald, Warriors' bowling coach, on Sourav Ganguly
"Facing him in the middle during practice, I found him very hard to hit", Kevin Pietersen on Shahbaz Nadeem, the left-arm spinner