Ahead of the kick off of Indian Premier League’s (IPL) season eleven, Delhi Daredevils (DD) were looking for a turnaround in their fortunes. However, after the first six matches, Delhi find themselves in a stride yet again with five losses so far before taking on Kolkata Knight Riders.
With the appointment of Gautam Gambhir as the skipper before the start of the tournament, Delhi would have surely believed that a turnaround was just around the corner. However, it hasn’t been the case and Gambhir has stepped down from his post after a dismal start from Delhi in the professional domestic Twenty20 league.
The baton has been passed to youngster Shreyas Iyer. He has been the man in-form for Delhi and the team management feels that the young blood will be the way forward.
But, with very little captaincy experience for Iyer, it won’t be an easy task for him to turn things around for Delhi. It also remains to be seen that whether he is able to maintain his form given the fact that he has been given an added responsibility.
Iyer hasn’t captained Delhi in the past so it will be surely a huge challenge. He will also have to take a call on the future of Gambhir as a player in the franchise.
The southpaw has been woefully out of form after he started off the tournament with a fluent half-century against the Kings XI Punjab (KXIP).
So much so, their bowling department has also leaked runs at crucial junctures which hasn’t really allowed them to win crucial moments in the match.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), on the other hand, will be looking forward to this particular encounter. Their oppositions are in a spot off bother which would definitely keep Kolkata in good shape.
A win will further strengthen their position in the top half of the points table. They will surely back themselves to win this all-important encounter given the fact that Delhi is still looking to find their right combination.
Captain Dinesh Karthik has been in some form for his franchise. Nitish Rana has also been another standout player for KKR with both bat and the ball. He has bagged some crucial wickets which include those of Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers.
Andre Russell was at his imperious best in the home leg against Delhi. He smashed a 12-ball 41 which included as many as six sixes on the bowling of Mohammed Shami.
Team Combinations –
Daredevils had a good day in the office during the first part of the match against the KXIP.
The bowlers were up to the mark which eventually restricted Punjab to 142. Amit Mishra, who made a comeback might be benched yet again after going for a tap in the previous clash.
Prithvi Shaw might be given a longer-run at the top of the order. Gambhir will definitely occupy the opening position for at least a match or two.
Meanwhile, the availability of Jason Roy and Chris Morris still raise a doubt in the camp.
Predicted XI: Prithvi Shaw, Gautam Gambhir, Shreyas Iyer (c), Glenn Maxwell, Rishabh Pant (wk), Rahul Tewatia, Daniel Christian, Amit Mishra/Shabhaz Nadeem, Liam Plunkett, Avesh Khan, Trent Boult.
Kolkata Knight Riders:
There is a slight injury concern on Andre Russell after the swashbuckling all-rounder sustained a hamstring injury during the previous clash against the Kings XI Punjab.
However, he is expected to be fit for an enticing clash. KKR are playing after a gap of little-over four days and it will surely help Russell recover from his injury and take part in the match.
Predicted XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav
Kolkata Knight Riders players. (Photo by: Rahul Gulati SPORTZPICS)Knight Riders have a clear edge over Delhi Daredevils in the head-to-head battle.
While Kolkata has won 13 times, DD has returned winners on seven occasions. Given the conditions of both teams, KKR looks the clear favourites to win clash on Thursday night.
Delhi needs to do something really special to force their way back into the competition.
Hence, I am backing Kolkata Knight Riders to return to winning ways following their loss to Punjab at home.