IPL: Can minus Pietersen Delhi Daredevils tame batting heavy RCB?

SHARJAH: A new-look Delhi Daredevils will launch their Indian Premier League campaign against Royal Challengers Bangalore here today without the services of their star batsman and captain Kevin Pietersen, who has been ruled out because of injury.
It will be a big setback for Delhi as Pietersen will be forced to sit out of the lung-opener because of a finger injury which is yet to heal completely. He is also a doubtful starter for the second game as well.
Pietersen, who was bought by Daredevils for USD 1.5 million (Rs 9 crore), had sustained an injury on his right hand little finger during fielding drills with Surrey at the Oval last month.
In Pietersen’s absence, Dinesh Karthik may lead the team against RCB who have a star-studded line-up and will be keen to start their campaign on a high. RCB had won both their matches against DD in 2013.
After a miserable 2013 – the Mahela Jayawardene-led DD finished last – Daredevils surely would want to turn their fortunes under new coach Gary Kirsten and the talented Pietersen.
England’s all-time leading run-scorer across all formats, Pietersen, 33, will now be available for a full IPL season for the first time following the end of his international career.
With the hard-working wicketkeeper-batsman Karthik and South Africa’s Jean-Paul Duminy as value additions in the new squad, Delhi are looking prepared and raring to go.
RCB, who had retained big boys Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle and AB de Villiers for the seventh edition, broke bank for Yuvraj Singh after shelling out a whopping 14 crores in the February auctions.
The team’s best finish was the runners-up trophy in 2011 but did not go beyond the qualifying stages in the 2013 season.

MEN WHO CAN MAKE IMPACT
YUVRAJ SINGH: Yuvraj Singh finds himself out of India’s Test and ODI squads and will quickly want to forget his previous T20 match for the country – the World T20 final a couple of weeks ago in Dhaka. Kohli wanted Yuvraj so dearly that he had his franchise owner put in the auction’s highest bid for the senior batsman. This is a critical season for Yuvraj on so many fronts.
DINESH KARTHIK: Dinesh Karthik’s international career has unfortunately coincided with Dhoni’s, which means the opportunity to play comes rarely even though he has been around for so long. It came in the recent Asia Cup, but Karthik did not really make it count. He was the second costliest buy in the auction after Yuvraj, and will have another season to make his case again.

SQUADS
DELHI: Kevin Pietersen, Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay, Ross Taylor, Quinton De Kock , Mohammed-Shami, Jaydev Unadkat, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Sharma, Jean Paul Duminy, Wayne Parnell, Saurabh Tiwary , Nathan Coulter-Nile, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, James Neesham, Shahbaz Nadeem, Kedar Jadhav, Siddharth Kaul, Mayank Agarwal, Rahul Shukla, Milind Kumar, HS Sharath, Jayant Yadav
BANGALORE: Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Vijay Zol, Tanmay Mishra, Yuzvendra Chahal, Parthiv Patel, Yogesh Takawale, Shadab Jakati, Varun Aaron, Ashok Dinda, Harshal Patel, Abu Nechim, Sachin Rana, Sandeep Warrier, Chris Gayle, Nic Maddinson, Albie Morkel, AB de Villiers, Muttiah Muralitharan, Mitchell Starc, Ravi Rampaul

KICK-OFF TIME
Delhi v Bangalore
VENUE: Sharjah
TIME: 20:00 IST