New Delhi: With as many as three of his past key players turning out for the opposition camp on Tuesday, Delhi Daredevils coach Greg Shipperd has termed his side's crucial IPL match against Royal Challengers Bangalore as a battle between "Old Delhi vs New Delhi".
Daredevils lost four of its star players - Daniel Vettori, Tillakaratne Dilshan, AB de Villiers and Dirk Nannes - to RCB in the IPL 4 auctions earlier this year.
Even though, Nannes has been ruled out of the tournament with an injury after featuring in just a couple of matches for RCB in the ongoing IPL, the other three former Delhi players will be desperate to prove a point to their previous owners at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Tuesday.
"It's almost like Old Delhi playing New Delhi. Half of their (RCB) side played for Delhi (in the last three seasons of IPL). They were our valued players. We tried to keep them in auctions but at last couldn't afford them," Shipperd told reporters on the eve of the vital encounter.
"They have found a nice new home and we have embraced our new people," he added. With two wins and three losses from five matches, the Daredevils are languishing at the second last position in the team standings with four points.
In their last home match, the Delhi upstaged Kings XI Punjab by 29 runs to return to winning ways and the coach hoped the team can carry forward the momentum in the tournament.
"Hopefully, we can develop some momentum and secure some back-to-back wins," Shipperd said.
In the absence of too many big names, Delhi's batting department relies heavily on a good start provided by the explosive combination of captain Virender Sehwag and Australian David Warner.
"Every side relies on its top order, its top four because they are the ones who get to play the most number of overs, they are ones who get to bat in powerplay. When big names fire things generally go well," Shipperd insisted.
Although, he is visibly satisfied with the efforts of his bowlers, Shipperd said there is still room for improvement. "I am not that unhappy with our bowling. We created a lot of chances the other day. It could have been 2/20 and we could have been starring at a 100-run victory," said the Australian.
"But we have some work to do in bowling, especially on yorkers, in finishing. (Morne) Morkel was very good, Irfan (Pathan) too got a wicket maiden."
Shipperd, who is used to seeing a low, slow track here, is delighted to witness a transformed Kotla strip, which produced a run riot in the last match it hosted.
"On different wickets you pick different balance teams. If you put good players on good wickets, you will get good cricket," he said of the high-scoring match between Daredevils and Kings XI Punjab.
"It is a new wicket and is expected to die down but as of now we are happy with the pitch. There are basic nature of some wickets like Chennai assist spin but we prefer pace and bounce here," he stressed.
The Delhi coach refused to give unnecessary importance to big-hitting West Indian Chris Gayle, who marked his return to IPL with a whirlwind century.
"Hopefully, we will catch the first nick he gets tomorrow. We will have to bowl in good areas to him but he is not our only focus," Shipperd said.
Gayle, who remained unsold in IPL 4 auctions, came in as a replacement for injured Nannes and powered RCB to a nine-wicket win over Kolkata Knight Riders with an unbeaten 102 off 55 balls.