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IPL 2018 has not disappointed in the least this year as matches have been keenly contested and every team seems capable of beating each other. The Kolkata Knight Riders suffered a heavy loss against the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the last match as their batting collapsed in the face of some testing bowling. The Delhi Daredevils will be coming into this game full of confidence after they chased down a massive total against the Mumbai Indians in their last match.
Gautam Gambhir, the current Delhi Daredevils captain, will return to the franchise where he had a lot of success as captain and batsman. His intimate knowledge of the conditions could prove crucial. Can the Kolkata Knight Riders recover in time or will the Delhi Daredevils go on a winning run?
The Kolkata Knight Riders made three changes from their last match but failed to turn around their fortunes and slipped to their second consecutive defeat. All of their changes seemed to be panicky in nature and were not executed very well either.
Shubman Gill, an under-19 sensation who bats at the top of the order, was asked to bat at number 7. Shivam Mavi, an opening fast bowler with some decent pace, was not given a chance to bowl until the match was almost over.
Mitchell Johnson made his way into the team in place of Tom Curran and was pretty ineffective as well.
Now, though, we feel that KKR has backed themselves into a corner and have to stick with the same eleven for this match as well. If they do decide to go with the same side then we would love to see Gill batting up the order and Mavi to open the bowling.
It is also going to be very interesting to see if Sunil Narine returns to the opening slot once again. He is not a regular top-order batsman and needs the restriction to be most effective.
For KKR to be able to put a strong Delhi Daredevils batting lineup under pressure they need lots of runs. Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa seem to be the people most likely to be able to provide those runs.
Lynn spent a lot of time in the middle during the last match but did not really time the ball very well. We think that inning is going to pay dividends down the line and very possibly in this match itself.
Of course, there is also Andre Russell who has already played a massive inning in this tournament. He has not missed a beat since returning to competitive cricket after a long hiatus and will be one of the biggest threats that Delhi will have to look out for.
Kolkata’s bowling is a little undercooked at the moment. Sunil Narine was good in the last match but around him is complete disorder. Piyush Chawla has been underwhelming, Vinay Kumar was dropped, Shivam Mavi is untested, Kuldeep Yadav is prone to going for plenty of runs, and Mitchell Johnson has not been at his best.
KKR will need to get a lot of things right to have a chance in this game.
Chris Lynn, SP Narine, RV Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav.
Delhi’s last match will help put some nerves at ease after losing the first two matches. There have been a lot of things going right for Delhi in this tournament and we think that they are going to be one of the teams to watch out for.
Jason Roy played his first match for Delhi Daredevils in the last match and ended up stroking an unbeaten 91 to help win the match. His partnership with Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order will be very important for the Delhi Daredevils once again.
Delhi also promoted Rishab Pant in the last match and saw him flourish. We think that is a move worth persisting with, although, it would not surprise us to Glenn Maxwell being sent in that number as well.
The Daredevils picked Dan Christian ahead of Chris Morris in the last match and that was a strange pick according to us. Morris is not only a better bowler but he is also a better six-hitter in the latter part of the inning.
We think Gambhir is shrewd enough to change that up in this match itself.
The Delhi Daredevils will be very aware that they need to improve their bowling. None of their bowlers has had the impact that they would have hoped. Trent Boult showed some good change-up deliveries late in the last match but he may well enjoy the conditions at the Eden Gardens better.
Delhi is also struggling big time with its spinners. Shahbaz Nadeem has been brought in to replace Amit Mishra but he has struggled to keep the runs down. Rahul Tewatia had a very good match in the last game but he is also someone who is not really going to keep the opposition awake at night.
The current balance of the Delhi Daredevils is skewed towards their batting and that is the discipline they will depend on to win them matches. On a pitch that helps fast bowlers, Delhi will have to be careful about going too hard too soon.
JJ Roy, G Gambhir, RR Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer, V Shankar, Chris Morris, R Tewatia, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammed Shami, TA Boult.
The team winning the toss is likely to field first
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The weather conditions in Kolkata are expected to be a little better than they have been over the last few days. No rain has been forecast for this match, the weather is expected to be moderate, and the humidity is expected to be high.
The pitch has some good amount of bounce and carry in it so a score of around 160 should be considered par.
KKR has beaten the Delhi Daredevils in four out of the last five matches. They have been particularly hard to beat in Kolkata, however, we have a feeling that things will change this time around. We are backing the Delhi Daredevils to win this match and continue their move upwards into the table.
Back the Delhi Daredevils to win.