Delhi Daredevils will face a tough challenge when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders in match 26 of the Indian Premier League 9 at New Delhi on Saturday. Delhi go into the match having suffered a narrow loss to Gujarat Lions. While they would have been disappointed with the end result, they should be pleased that they ran the best side in the tournament so far very close. Kolkata, on the other hand, tasted only their second defeat in the tournament when they went down to Mumbai Indians again. But, they would be confident as they take on Delhi.
The biggest gain for Delhi from the loss against Lions was the splendid effort of Chris Morris. The all-rounder played a whirlwind knock, which nearly helped pull off a come-from-behind victory for the Daredevils. He would be keen to continue in the same vein. Not only with the bat, Morris was also Delhi’s best bowler in the previous match, earning him the man of the match. JP Duminy also supported him well with the bat in the last game, although the team would want him to score at a quicker pace than he did against the Lions.
The top three batsmen’s failure was a big setback for Delhi against Lions. They will hope Quinton de Kock, who has otherwise been in pretty decent form, gets back among the runs again, against Kolkata. Sanju Samson and Karun Nair also fell in single-figure scores. They will be expected to raise their game as well. In the bowling, skipper Zaheer Khan has been very inconsistent. With the kind of experience he possesses, the team will be hoping for better from him. Imran Tahir bowler excellently for his 3 for 24, while Amit Mishra also has been reasonable. Delhi however would be disappointed that Pawan Negi has lived up to his crore-billing.
There was nothing much Kolkata could do as Mumbai’s Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard thumped them with ease in their previous match. But, they would like to put the disappointment behind them. Yet again, the openers will be the key to Kolkata’s fortunes. Skipper Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa remain in excellent form. At the same time, they will be worried with the lack of runs coming from the bat of Shakib Al Hasan. Suryakumar Yadav and Andre Russell both have made match-winning contributions for Kolkata with the bat, which would please the team.
In the bowling, Sunil Narine will again be the key. But, in the last match, Jaydev Unadkat went for plenty so there should be some changes in store in the department. Umesh Yadav needs to bowl out his quota. Shakib has kept the runs down, but hasn’t been as consistent with the wickets. R Sathish and Russell went for plenty of runs against Mumbai. It would be interesting to observe what Kolkata do to get back on track against Delhi, as far as their bowling resources are concerned.
--By A Cricket Analyst