Delhi Daredevils will look to knock Kolkata Knight Riders off their perch when they face-off at Delhi on Monday, April 17.
This IPL 2017 match is crucial for both sides as teams jostle to stay in the top half of the table. Delhi need to start winning regularly, but Kolkata have momentum, but who wins?
The Daredevils team looks more like an India ‘A’ team – not just because of Rahul Dravid in the dug-out. Consistency remains their problem though as they are struggling to find players performing together in a clutch.
Rishabh Pant was brilliant against Royal Challengers Bangalore but was a lone warrior in that loss. They came to life against Rising Pune Supergiant though, with Sanju Samson’s century highlight of their innings. The 97-run winning margin was a reflection of how well Delhi played.
Against Kings XI Punjab, it was Sam Billings who did his bit with an innings of 55 and the problem of top-order performing together persists. What augurs well for Zaheer Khan’s side is the form of Chris Morris and Corey Anderson who are walloping sixes for fun.
Kolkata Knight Riders are slowly getting into the groove and, with just one loss from four matches, they look set to go deep in the tournament. Chris Lynn started their season with a bang by helping demolish Gujarat Lions by ten-wickets.
The Knight Riders lost the next match to Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede although it wasn’t a capitulation by any measure. They followed it up with consecutive victories over Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Lynn’s injury-induced absence is a blow but the form of Gautam Gambhir – the orange-cap holder – is a huge plus. Manish Pandey is in cracking form too while Robin Uthappa got among runs on Saturday. And with two premier spinners in their ranks – Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav – Gambhir’s side looks the real deal.
The return of Shreyas Iyer gives Delhi a better look and they should go with the same team that is playing well against Kings XI.
With Delhi expected to be a drier surface, the Knight Riders may look at including Shakib al Hasan at the expense of Colin de Grandhomme.
Last year, these sides split the results with each team winning at home. At Kolkata, the bowling of Andre Rusell and Brad Hogg demolished Delhi. The Daredevils had their revenge at Delhi with Karun Nair, Billings and Carlos Brathwaite leading the hosts.
Delhi is slowly getting into the groove while Kolkata looks in perfect rhythm although it’s still early days. There’s nothing much separate the odds on these sides with the hosts at $2.00 (Ladbrokes
) and KKK at $1.90 (Sportsbet
Uthappa is very crucial to Kolkata’s fortunes and now that he’s back to striking the ball well, will he turn out to be their top batsman? Odds being offered are $4.50 (Sportsbet
) on him being top Knight Riders’ batsman.
Narine will enjoy the return to Delhi although teams these days are conscious not to gift him wickets. He may end up conceding less than 20 runs in his four-over spell but Kuldeep could be their top bowler. For Delhi, it could be Shahbaz Nadeem.