Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders will battle it out at the Feroz Shah Kotla on Monday afternoon, in a contest between two sides that have really impressed so far in IPL 2017. Both teams have won their last two games, so something will have to give in this Delhi heat.
Kolkata have bounced back well from Chris Lynn’s injury against Mumbai Indians, demonstrating they can score heavily and choke opposition with the ball. Sunil Narine has taken on the mantle of a makeshift all-rounder, with his trusty economical spin and useful, albeit inconsistent, batting power – which has earned him a promotion to being an opener.
The Daredevils, on the other hand, are an altogether different side from the one that lost their first game to Royal Challengers Bangalore. A half-century from England’s Sam Billings against Kings XI Punjab is good news for the top order, as is the emergence of Sanju Samson and Rishabh Pant. Combine that with immense late power provided by the likes of Chris Morris and Corey Anderson, and Delhi’s batting looks decidedly dangerous.
If the Kotla wicket plays slow again – as the chatter suggests it will – the Knight Riders may opt to bring in Shakib al Hasan, possibly for Chris Woakes who conceded 49 from his four overs last time out, despite taking two wickets. Either that or Colin de Grandhomme may miss out.
Delhi have little reason to change a winning set-up, but if they are vulnerable anywhere, it’s at the top. The young Indian trio of Samson, Shreyas Iyer and Karun Nair haven’t come unstuck as of yet, but there is T20 inexperience to be exploited. With that in mind, there’s added pressure on Billings to deliver.
If DD bat first: 180+
Delhi’s batting order poses a serious threat to Kolkata throughout the innings, and they’ll be on top of them if they slack off at any point. Pressure will be on Narine to exploit the slower wicket, with the same applying to Kuldeep and Shakib (if he plays). Kings XI found on Saturday that the Daredevils batsmen are hard to restrict, with 5 through 8 in the line-up all boasting strike rates upwards of 160 as they stormed to 188.
If KKR bat first: 160+
KKR’s batting is solid enough, but Delhi’s bowlers have been on form lately, with Morris and Pat Cummins making hey. Gambhir has been crucial so far in keeping Kolkata on track and he will be again, making Morris vs Gambhir a potentially vital duel. The South African has dismissed the Knight Riders captain three times in just 21 balls. Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey will also have to step up if Kolkata want to rack up the runs.
The signs point towards a Delhi Daredevils home win here. They hammered Kings XI on Saturday and are peaking with bat and ball. Kolkata’s bowlers must stifle Delhi’s batsmen to stand a chance, as the Daredevils’ bowling is unlikely to slip up.