Delhi Daredevils will look to open their IPL 7 campaign with a win sans their new skipper Kevin Pietersen. The Daredevils will take on the formidable Royal Challengers Bangalore, who will be desperate to not just make the Playoffs this season, but also go all the way and clinch their first IPL title, on Thursday.
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The game is scheduled for an 6.30 pm local time (8 pm IST, 3.30 pm GMT, 10.30 am ET) start with live coverage on Sony Max, Sony Six and Sony Six HD in India. Catch the action via live streaming online in India HERE or HERE. Rest of the world can catch the IPL action HERE, HERE or through the GoCricket apps. Viewers in the US can live stream the action HERE, while audience in Canada can do the same HERE.
Viewers in the UK can catch the action live on ITV, while Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will have TV coverage via Geo Super, Maasaranga TV and Carlton Sports Network respectively. Viewers in the Middle East and North Africa can catch the action on OSN and with the link HERE, while New Zealand viewers can do the same through Sky NZ HERE.
The match in Sharjah, the second of the season after KKR's handsome win over defending champs Mumbai Indians in the opener in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, will be about RCB's blink-and-you-will-miss-a-six batting lineup against the Don't-really-know-what-to-expected Daredevils.
RCB retained their three key players - Virat Kohli, AB De Villiers and Chris Gayle - while adding the power-hitting of Yuvraj Singh, who was the most expensive buy in this year's auction. Any one of those four is capable of taking the game away from the opposition on their own, so imagine if two, or even three of them fire in a game.
"It is a new phase for RCB, there are only few players from last year who are in the team and there are a lot of new players," captain Kohli said. "The guys have gelled pretty quickly and it is a relaxed environment.
"I am really excited to have all these new faces in the team and looking forward to this season. I have a strong feeling that we are going to do well in this season and I hope we go a few steps further and do well in the competition."
Yuvraj will be in the spotlight for obvious reasons, after the left-hander's forgettable performance in the World T20, where he looked like a wizard whose entire powers had been conjured away from him. Kohli, though, a great friend, and the chief reason behind RCB's decision to spend Rs 14 crore on Yuvraj, believes the southpaw will prove his doubters wrong.
"Yuvraj is very happy playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore," Kohli added. "He is very happy with the kind of environment which is there in the squad. He is loving it. I have spoken to him personally as well and he is excited to go out there and perform. I feel he is going to be the X-factor for RCB this season."
The Daredevils' own maverick will not be available for the first game of the season, with Pietersen ruled out with a finger injury, meaning the captaincy mantle will fall upon Dinesh Karthik, the second most expensive player at the auction.
"He [Pietersen] did not play in the practice match and he won't be considered for tomorrow's game. Dinesh Karthik will captain the side," Daredevils assistant coach, Eric Simmons, said on Wednesday.
"It is a setback for us because he is an important player in our setup. It is a bit of a jolt for us, but what we did well during the auction was that we made sure that we had covered all the areas. I think we have got ample replacements about who we can consider during such situations, and that was one of the strengths of the squad that we have put together."
The Daredevils have the likes of India internationals Mohammad Shami and Murali Vijay in their lineup along with a few big-name international players, and it will be interesting to see just how they gel together against arguably the best batting team in the IPL.