New Delhi, April 16 (IANS) Beaming with confidence after winning two matches on the trot, a resurgent Delhi Daredevils will be eager to keep the momentum going when they take on two-time Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Feroz Shah Kotla here on Monday.
Delhi overcame their opening loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) with two huge back-to-back victories — 97-run win over Rising Pune Supergiant and then Saturday’s 51-run win over Kings XI Punjab at home.
Kolkata, on the other hand, have won three out of their four encounters so far, and will aim to consolidate their stay atop the points table.
Going into Monday’s first double header, the match promises to be an exciting contest between third-placed Delhi’s famed pace battery and KKR’s top order batting.
With the likes of South African quick Kasigo Rabada and India’s Mohammed Shami still warming the bench, Delhi can boast of a bowling line-up which can demolish any side on their day.
On Saturday, Delhi seized the momentum early on with three early wickets as Punjab struggled to get anywhere closer to the massive total of 188/6 posted by the home side.
The all-rounder duo of South Africa’s Chris Morris and New Zealand’s Corey Anderson have been the Zaheer Khan-led Delhi’s main weapons — be it slogging lower down the order or getting the important breakthroughs with the ball.
While Morris fired an eight-ball 16 and returned with figures of 3/23, Anderson came up with a breezy 22-ball unbeaten 39 besides taking one wicket.
Delhi’s top-order batting also clicked to a great extent with openers Sanju Samson and top-scorer Sam Billings setting the tone with a half century stand.
The return of Shreyas Iyer consolidated the middle order and he along with Rishabh Pant can take the bowlers to the cleaners with ease. Karun Nair will also be hoping to get back his mojo back.
Delhi’s spin duo of Amit Mishra and Shahbaz Nadeem have consistently been among the wickets, besides putting the brakes on the scoring rate in the middle overs.
On the other hand, KKR can take a lot of input on the nature of wicket from their Delhi-born captain Gautam Gambhir, who has been in prime form in the tournament so far.
After a rare failure by the top order, KKR’s middle order stood up on Saturday with Robin Uthappa slamming a 39-ball 68 and Manish Pandey scoring a 35-ball 46 to guide the team to a 17-run win over Sunrisers Hyderabad.
With the likes of West Indian mystery spinner Sunil Narine, India’s Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav and Trent Boult in their ranks, the visitors will certainly be a test for the relatively young Delhi batting line-up.
Delhi Daredevils: Zaheer Khan (Captain), Mohammad Shami, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jayant Yadav, Amit Mishra, Shreyas Iyer, Sanju Samson, Karun Nair, Rishabh Pant (WK), Chama Milind, Khaleel Ahmed, Pratyush Singh, Murugan Ashwin, Aditya Tare, Shashank Singh, Ankit Bawane, Navdeep Saini, Corey Anderson, Angelo Mathews, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Chris Morris, Carlos Brathwaite and Sam Billings.
KKR: Gautam Gambhir (Captain), Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa (WK), Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh, Colin de Grandhomme.