Kolkata Knight Riders return to their fortress as they sit confidently at the top in points table. Coming off an annihilation of RCB and a dominating win over Pune, they would like to establish their prowess with another win at their own den. They are one of the most balanced sides in the tournament and it would be a very hard work for Delhi Daredevils to stop them at Eden Gardens.
Delhi Daredevils surprisingly find themselves at the bottom of the table with two wins in 6 matches. They have lost some very close matches and must now pull up their socks to learn the art of finishing the games. Their net run rate of +0.848 is a bonus for them and a win here would propel them to fifth position. In the last game against Mumbai, their bowlers did a good job but their batsmen couldn’t complement it and they lost by 14 runs.
The pitch appears to have a greenish feel to it and this may result in movement off the wicket with the new ball. Both Delhi and Kolkata pacers would like to take advantage in the initial overs. Barring the initial swing, the ball is expected to come nicely onto the bat and another high scoring encounter is on the cards until some seam bowlers go berserk.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – STRENGTHS
KKR pacers are expected to unleash their fury on inexperienced Delhi batting bolstered by their destruction of RCB. With the return of Nathan Coulter-NIle, alongwith Colin de Grandhomme, Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes, any batsmen could feel the chills. Kuldeep Yadav brought the KKR back into the last match as he flummoxed the dangerous Dhoni and Manoj Tiwary. Robin Uthappa has time and again defied the critics and he proved them wrong again as he single handedly won the match against Pune. Gautam Gambhir has been resilient with the bat and aggressive in his captaincy. From attacking field positions to balancing the squad comfortably, he has shown the positive intent. Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Sunil Narine are all amongst runs.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – WEAKNESSES
Sunil Narine hasn’t been impressive with the ball. Chris Woakes also went for some runs in the last match against Pune. Suryakumar Yadav hasn’t delivered with the bat as the lower middle order looks a little bleak. With everything going well for them, they should avoid any complacency from creeping in.
DELHI DAREDEVILS – STRENGTHS
Delhi Daredevils have one of the most fearsome pace attack with Chris Morris, Pat Cummins and Zaheer Khan all amongst wickets with great economy rates. Amit Mishra has been consistent with the ball and has taken wickets regularly. Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant have shown some great promise with the bat. Chris Morris has emerged as the all rounder of the tournament with scintillating display with both bat and ball.
DELHI DAREDEVILS – WEAKNESSES
The young batsmen in the DD squad haven’t been consistent with the bat. They have suffered some narrow defeats. Coming off 3 consecutive losses, they urgently need a win to get the confidence back in their ranks. They must also send Chris Morris up the order to take advantage of his good form.
KKR – With Nathan Coulter-Nile set to comeback after being rested for a game, Darren Bravo would have to make way for him. Piyush Chawla could also be made to sit out and Suryakumar Yadav can make a return to the playing XI. Ishank Jaggi could also get a look in if KKR decides to play him ahead of Suryakumar.
Gautam Gambhir (capt), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Ishank Jaggi, Colin de Grandhomme, Chris Woakes, Umesh Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Kuldeep Yadav
DD – With their recent poor outing with the bat and on a seaming track, Delhi would like to go with Sam Billings at the top. This means Kagiso Rabada who did well with both bat and ball may have to make way for Mohd. Shami. Aditya Tare may also be made to sit out.
Sanju Samson, Sam Billings, Karun Nair, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (wk), Corey Anderson, Chris Morris, Pat Cummins, Amit Mishra, Mohammed Shami, Zaheer Khan (capt)
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 18, KKR – 11, DD – 7
At Eden Gardens: Played – 6, KKR – 5, DD -1
Earlier this season at Feroz Shah Kotla, KKR recovered from 21-3 to chase 169 riding on half centuries by Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan. Pandey settled the score in KKR’s favour with a boundary off the penultimate ball of the match in a close encounter.
With both teams boasting of the best seam attack, this promises to be another roller coaster ride. Here’s what we predict
If KKR bats first
1st Innings Score: 170 – 180
KKR wins by 10-20 runs
If DD bats first
1st Innings Score: 170 – 180
KKR wins with 5 wickets in hand