Delhi Daredevils take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in their seventh games of the tournament. The last time these two teams met, KKR decimated DD by 71 runs. Delhi, now the home side, were bowled out for 130 after they conceded 200 in practically 18 overs. A lot of eyes will be on this clash considering the recent chaos in the Delhi camp. Gautam Gambhir’s resignation as captain and his recommendation of young Shreyas Iyer as the replacement will force the spotlight on these two when the two teams take the field at the Kotla.
DD suffered a heart-breaking last ball loss in their previous game, but they have several positives to take away from the game. KKR fell victim to Punjab’s openers as they comfortably chased their target in a rain-affected match. Will Gambhir’s gamble help Delhi arrest their slide, or will KKR return to winning ways
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.
Shreyas Iyer (c), Chris Morris, Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, 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.
Where the teams stand
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR has had almost a week off between this and their last game, giving them a good amount of time to prepare for the Kotla. The pitch was quite conducive to batting in the last match played here, a trait overshadowed by the low scores. It held up a bit at times, and anyone who tried to play across the field failed to connect. The dew is also bound to be a factor later on in the match, playing into the hands of two teams that love to chase. KKR could take a leaf out of RCBs book from their loss against CSK; keep slogging, especially in the power plays. The visitors have done this to great effect this season, attaining a PP run rate of around 9.5. Narine and Lynn are two explosive batsmen at the top, with the former opening solely to swing his bat at every ball. Uthappa at 3 has played some very breezy innings’ at an average strike rate of 140, but has failed to convert the 30s into big scores.
KKR also have a solid middle order comprising Rana, Russell, Karthik, and Gill. Rana has been man of the match twice so far, while Russell has a strike rate of 230 so far in the league. Karthik has been rock-solid throughout, having been relied on a little too often to repair the KKR innings. The Knight Riders have a strange tendency to suffer a mini-collapse once the power play elapses. If they sustain their usual momentum till the halfway mark, they can easily score 100+ in the first half.
KKR’s spin trio wreaked havoc upon Delhi the last time these teams met, taking 7 of the 10 wickets to fall. Narine and Kuldeep picked up three each. There is a realistic chance that the spinners will dominate proceedings again, and KKR’s pace attack has settled in as well. Before the game against Punjab, KKR had two great bowling performances against RR and DD themselves, dismissing them for 160 and 129 respectively. While Russell is unlikely to bowl given the hamstring issues he faced in the last game, the week-long rest might just bring him back. Curran and Mavi have chipped away at the wickets, but Curran has been expensive. Mavi has been better, but no pacer has been spared in this years IPL. It has taken some very special performances to defeat KKR this season, and Delhi will need one to overcome the visitors in their own den. The bowlers will be key, especially since the batsmen have been consistent in getting the team big scores.
Fantasy picks: The entire batting lineup is a potential threat to DD. Narine, Uthappa, DK, and Russell are obvious picks. Kuldeep Yadav is another worthy pick for his gutsy bowling and knack for taking wickets. Rana is an X-factor who could earn a lot of points if he bowls, and is a handful with the bat too.
Delhi made three interesting changes to their squad for the first match in a bid to turn their season around. They included speedsters Avesh Khan and Liam Plunkett, and also included Prithvi Shaw to open the batting alongside Gautam Gambhir. Both the pacers performed brilliantly, Plunkett ending with figures of 4-0-17-3. Khan picked up 2 wickets and conceded 36, but he bowled some fiery lines that troubled the batsmen. Shaw scored 22 from 10, but 8 of those runs came off unintended edges. However, he is a potential talent who could make the opening slot his own. Gambhir’s enormous struggles continued as he managed only 4 from 13. Pant has been the main source of inspiration for Delhi this season. He has scored 227 runs in the season so far. Iyer has looked good in the recent matches, having notched two half-centuries in the last three games. As captain, he will have a huge task to accomplish. He must come in at three and lead from the front at a time like this. Maxwell is always a threat, but he has mostly remained just that in the IPL. The emphasis here has to be on the bowling, which has always been Delhi’s strongest department on paper.
For Delhi, the pacers will be the ones to watch out for in this match. Boult, Avesh Khan, and Liam Plunkett form a potentially lethal attack based on their performance in the last match. Boult has been fantastic in the last three matches, and not just with the ball. He took what is easily the catch of the season already to dismiss Kohli, and has been an absolute livelier in the field. He has also maintained a low economy, taking several wickets along the way. He had figures of 4-0-29-2 in the match against KKR. Tewatia has been another bowler who has managed to bowl out his overs without conceding too many. A lot will rely on how Iyer and Gambhir rotate the bowlers adapting to what lineup KKR employ with their batting. While there is much potential in the bowling, KKR will be a hard, probably too hard a test for Delhi.
Fantasy Picks: Pant and Iyer are perhaps the only obvious picks from Delhi. Boult is one player to watch out for, and should be picked over Plunkett. Tewatia is also worth picking for his low economy.
KKR win. They have far and away been the better team this season, and hold the advantage once again.
Who will win this Indian Premier League 2018 clash? Let us know in the comments and poll below.