Brothers and close friends will face each other when the Kolkata Knight Riders host the Delhi Daredevils in the second match of the Indian Premier League 2012, on Thursday evening.
Delhi boys Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir have a long history of playing together. They have opened the batting for the Delhi Ranji team and then for the Indian team and then of course, for the Delhi Daredevils, in the first three seasons of IPL.
Tonight, however, they will line up on different sides - Sehwag will be leading the Daredevils, while Gambhir captains the Knight Riders.
In addition, the Pathan brothers will also be seen lining up against each other - a situation that Irfan said he would have preferred to avoid.
While all-rounder Irfan will take the field for the Delhi outfit, his elder brother Yusuf, will be an important player for the Kolkata franchise.
The two teams had contrasting fortunes in the previous four editions of the tournament. The Knight Riders did not find their their best game until late last season, when they managed the semi-finals. The Daredevils, on the other hand, have been one of the most consistently successful teams in the IPL, until they slumped to a rock-bottom finish last year.
Team News: The Daredevils were dealt a blow when Kiwi big-hitter Ross Taylor was ruled for the majority of the tournament due to an injury. Meanwhile, key batsmen David Warner, Mahela Jayawardene and Kevin Pietersen are away on national duty. However, they make up for that loss in all-rounders. Andre Russell, their latest recruit from the West Indies will start if he passes a late fitness test and given his recent performances against Australia, he will be one to watch out for. Also, with Irfan Pathan and Roelof van der Merwe, the team looks stronger than last year. Sehwag's bowling attack will depend heavily on speedster Umesh Yadav, as Varun Aaron might not be available for this game.
The Knight Riders have added West Indian spinner Sunil Narine to their ranks. His performance in the 2011 Champions League T20 will give Gambhir the confidence to play him straightaway. Meanwhile, all-rounders Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Ryan Ten Doeschate and Eoin Morgan are all capable of piling on the runs when required, while Gambhir and Jacques Kallis can hold fort at the other end. Local boys Manoj Tiwary and Laxmi Ratan Shukla will add depth to their batting and with Marchant de Lange in the bowling unit, Knight Riders have a solid line-up.
The match promises to be an interesting encounter. While the Knight Riders look favourites going into the home clash, it will be interesting to see if they can contain the unpredictable Daredevils.
The match can be followed live on cricinfo.com.