The Kolkata Knight Riders face Delhi Daredevils in Gautam Gambhir’s ‘homecoming’ as he returns to the Eden Gardens, in red this time. Both teams have lost two games and won one, but the order matters. KKR won their first match of the season and then dropped points in the next two. DD started off their campaign with two losses and have won their latest one.
KKR made some glaring tactical errors in the last game, ones they need to rectify to get the best out of their team. DD pulled a masterstroke in including Jason Roy, who went on to score the match-winning 91. Can KKR arrest their slide, or will DD turn their curve with another victory?
Shreyas Iyer, Chris Morris, Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir (c), Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna.
Where the teams stand
Delhi will be thanking their stars they decided to select Roy in place of Colin Munro. He helped them chase a target they would never have been able to overcome without this special performance. Their bowlers were expensive yet again, letting Mumbai score 194. This will be a serious problem at Kolkata, where the pitch has been very conducive to big hitting. Their bowlers need to find a way to stop the run-flow on good batting pitches, which is most locations this year. Rishabh Pant has continued his good form, scoring 47 in the last match. Even Shreyas Iyer was hitting it well. However, the rest of the order is not the strongest. Gambhir was great in the first match, but struggled in the last one. Maxwell, Shankar, and Christian are not the most reliable batsmen. DD played their best batsmen at the top, which is the best way to go considering that half their batting lineup is a hit or miss.
The bowling is a bigger concern for Delhi. The strategy of chasing as much as an opposition can score against you does not with Delhi the way it did with KKR. This is because DD simply do not have the batting to cover for big scores. They do have the bowling to restrict teams to low scores with their big names, but they have been quite off the mark so far. Glenn Maxwell was the pick of their bowlers last game by a fair mile, and that speaks volumes of the way DD have been bowling. Boult and Shami in particular need to be more conservative with their economy. Christian has been expensive as well, and Gambhir should seriously consider including Plunkett to strengthen their bowling. Morris was dropped for his inconsistency, but even he is a better option than Christian. The key lies with the bowling here, and if the attack continues to be leaky, it will be tough for Delhi to win in Kolkata.
Fantasy Picks: Rishabh Pant and Roy are obvious picks from this side. Gambhir is a worthy gamble, but the bowling is much trickier. Between Boult and Shami, Boult is the better pick. Shreyas Iyer is a possible X-factor for the match considering his performance in the last game.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata demoted Sunil Narine to number four to enforce some solidarity at the top. It did not work, since Narine could not utilise the power play overs and Uthappa was dismissed on just 3. Lynn continues to be a sort of lone warrior at the top. He simply isn't receiving the support he and the team needs. KKR have been 5 wickets down at 80 odd in both of their previous matches. Russell won’t be save them every time. Shubman Gill needs to bat higher up the order as well. He is completely ineffective at 7, Jaggi is a much better fit for that role. Rana has failed to fulfil the role Pandey has played for KKR over the years, and it leaves a big hole in that middle order. A lot will depend on the top order for KKR. Lynn and Russell cannot be the only ones performing.
KKR put in a great effort with the ball against SRH after their performance with the bat. They kept getting wickets and piling pressure on the batsmen, something they need to keep doing. Injuries to Starc and Nagarkoti have marred their season already, but KKR need to work with the resources they have. Narine, as always, has been fantastic and was instrumental in KKRs performances in the last few games. The rain assisted spin, helping Yadav and Chawla dominate as well. The pacers were expensive, a recurrent problem for KKR, and something they will definitely be aware of. The pitch should behave the way it did against CSK unless it rains again, and the pacers need to prepared for a tough fight. This applies to the spinners as well. Hence, both teams will be looking to bowl first given their bowling concerns, and whoever does will hold the advantage.
Fantasy Picks: Lynn, Russell, Narine and Karthik are all reliable picks for any team. Karthik has been getting his 20s and 30s, while Russell and Lynn have also been consistent for KKR. Narine has been great with the ball, and his batting is an added bonus. Kuldeep and Uthappa are X-factors for KKR whose performances could be decisive.
KKR win. Their batting and bowling departments have been faring far better than DD’s, are this is likely to be the case again.
Who will snare a win in this epic IPL 2018 clash? Let us know in the comments and poll below.