Dhaka, Apr 4 (bdnews24.com) - Shakib Al Hasan will be hoping to enhance his reputation as the world's best all-rounder when his team Kolkata Knight Riders battle Delhi Daredevils in the second match of the IPL 5 T20 tournament at Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Thursday.
The overworked Bangladesh all-rounder, who was retained for a second season by the Shah Rukh Khan-owned franchise, is in the form of his form of his life having had a fantastic Asia Cup in which he was named player of the tournament.
In Bangladesh's stirring showing in the regional 50-over competition, Shakib made 64, 49, 56 and 68 before the Tigers narrowly missed making history.
The slow left-arm orthodox bowler was successful as a bowler in last season's IPL. He is hopeful of having a blast in the batting department this time though.
The world's best all-rounder's IPL bowling average was 15.91. But Shakib was unlucky with the bat as he got a total of 29 runs playing seven matches.
"I am confident of doing my best and aim to play in all the matches," said Shakib on his departure.
Both the Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils will be aiming to end their dismal record as underachievers in the past four seasons.
For Kolkata skipper Gautam Gambhir, who has been stripped of Indian vice-captaincy, the tournament would mean a lot personally as he would be eager to let his leadership skills do the talking, besides contributing at the top of the order.
The Knight Riders look a far more settled side this time around after roping in former player and New Zealand's explosive opener Brendon McCullum, and their $700,000 catch in West Indian off-spinner Sunil Narine, who scalped 10 wickets at a miserly 4.37 runs per over for Trinidad and Tobago in last season's Champions League Twenty20 .
McCullum is expected to partner Jacques Kallis at the top with Gambhir dropping to the No 3 position. The middle-order will have an in-form Manoj Tiwary, who would be desperate to be prove a point to the Indian team management after having denied a single opportunity during the entire tri-series in Australia and the subsequent Asia Cup in Bangladesh.
In Yusuf Pathan, the Knight Riders have one of the most feared hitters and the team would be hoping for his bat to do all the talking this time around after a fairly quiet outing last year.
Apart from Pathan, the Knight Riders also have a host of exciting all-rounders in Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Rajat Bhatia, Dutchman Ryan ten Doeschate and Shakib.
The Knight Riders also have balanced bowling attack, which will be led by Australian speedster Brett Lee.
The Daredevils, meanwhile, are keen on a turnaround after finishing last in 2011 with just four wins to their credit.
The Daredevils, however, will be without the services of big names like Mahela Jayawardene, Kevin Pietersen and David Warner as they are busy playing for their respective countries.
Besides Kiwi Ross Taylor is also unavailable after he broke his hand during the third Test against South Africa recently.