Kolkata Knight Riders are on a red hot form in the 2017 IPL as they have won three of their first four matches. Currently placed second in the IPL points table, Kolkata will look to dethrone Mumbai Indians from the top spot when they take on Delhi Daredevils at the Ferozeshah Kotla stadium later today.
They are coming into this match after beating the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad by 17 runs at the Eden Gardens. Chris Lynn, who was brilliant for KKR in the first two match, is yet to recover from the shoulder injury he sustained earlier in the tournament and will miss the match against DD. KKR will look to fix the areas where they are vulnerable (especially their middle order) and are set to make at least one change in their playing XI from their previous match.
Shakib-al-Hasan is likely to come in place of Colin de Grandhomme or Chris Woakes while it won’t be a surprise if Ishank Jaggi is picked ahead of either Suryakumar Yadav or Yusuf Pathan. Let us take a look at how they will line up for the game against Delhi Daredevils.
Gautam Gambhir has been in a fine form in the 2017 IPL. The Knight Riders’ skipper lost the orange cap to Mumbai Indians’ Nitish Rana and will look to regain it when he walks out to bat against Delhi Daredevils. Gambhir will look to cash in and score a lot of runs as he is returning to his home ground, Ferozeshah Kotla cricket stadium.
After a match-winning knock in KKR’s previous match, it won’t be a bad idea to stop experimenting and allow Robin Uthappa to bat at a position in which he has scored a lot of runs for the team in the past, opening. He looked good in the last couple of games and the team management should make him open the innings.
With the exception of Manish Pandey, the Knight Riders’ middle order batsmen are struggling to get going in this year’s IPL. Manish has looked solid in the matches he has played so far and will look to make a case for himself in finding a place in the Indian XI for the 2017 Champions Trophy. Allowing Uthappa, Gambhir and Manish bat in the top-3 will make sure that KKR have their best batsmen in the right positions.
KKR vice-captain Surya Kumar Yadav is yet to live up his reputation in this year’s tournament. His form has been a major concern for the team and the Mumbaikar has to come good with the bat. KKR will be tempted to give him few more chances before they turn to Ishank Jaggi in the upcoming matches.
The form of Yusuf Pathan should worry Gautam Gambhir as the right-hander has rarely scored runs whenever he comes out to bat since the start of last year’s IPL. The right-hander should re-invent himself and do what he does the best. If he fails to perform, KKR might even drop him to accommodate Ishank Jaggi.
Having mentioned about KKR’s fragile middle-order, the team management should look to bring in someone who can bind the innings together if the top 3 batsmen fail. Shakib-al-Hasan fits the bill perfectly and it won’t be a surprise if he gets the nod for the game against Delhi in place of Colin de Grandhomme after missing Knight Riders’ first four games this season.
After opening the batting in the last two matches, it won’t be a surprise if Sunil Narine is demoted in the batting order and plays as a spin bowler who can score some crucial runs towards the end. The Trinidadian might not take wickets like used to but is making sure that he is not leaking away the runs and keeps the opposition’s run-rate at bay.
Kuldeep Yadav did something that some of the bowlers in the IPL has been failing to do so since the start of last year’s tournament, dominating David Warner. The chinaman is on a roll in the last one year and is KKR’s trump card this season. He will be expected to continue his heroics when his team takes on DD on a wicket that has some assistance for the spinners.
Chris Woakes is doing a fantastic job for KKR in the death overs by picking some crucial wickets. The Englishman went for some runs against Sunrisers Hyderabad but he will look to bounce back against Delhi Daredevils. It won’t be a surprise if Woakes is dropped for Shakib (instead of Colin de Grandhomme, who is capable of scoring some runs with the bat towards the end).
Trent Boult has been unlucky in the IPL as he fell victim to KKR’s sloppy fielding as few catches were dropped off the bowling of the Kiwi international. He will hope for the fielders to back him and take some wickets in the upcoming games. He will also look to improve his death bowling, something that wasn’t up to the mark this season.
After missing the first two matches, Umesh Yadav returned to the playing XI with a bang by picking up four wickets against Kings XI Punjab. He did a decent job against Sunrisers and will look to continue his fine form in the remainder of the tournament and seal his place in the Indian playing XI at the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.