Andre Russell and Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, a mighty challenge for Delhi Capitals
This match could come down to leadership in tough situations, and that puts the home team at an advantage
Kolkata Knight Riders had shocked many teams in the first half of their fixtures before Chennai Super Kings dealt them one of their own on Tuesday. With a batting strategy built around attacking through all phases, it was likely they would collapse the way they did, sooner or later. Dinesh Karthik alluded to this in the post-match presentation and said his team would be moving on and treating it as a one-off. The good news for them is they have, at least logistically, a friendly week ahead on the fixtures list: three consecutive home games, with five days between the second and third. They have familiar conditions in which they have to execute familiar strategies, and the knowledge that in the last three seasons, 16 points have been enough to qualify for the playoffs. At the moment, that means they'll need four wins in their remaining eight matches.
Considering that benchmark, Delhi Capitals will need five wins in their eight matches, which is a win rate higher than the 50% they've achieved so far. This season, Capitals have had to deal with the paradox of looking the better side for large parts of a match without necessarily coming out with the win. They let Knight Riders come back from the brink several times before beating them in the Super Over, lost 7 for 8 against Kings XI Punjab, and lost three wickets inside six balls when they were close to annihilating Royal Challengers. If Knight Riders' all-out attack is a double-edged sword, Capitals' dependence on youth is a similar Achilles heel. This match could come down to leadership in tough situations, and that puts the home team at an advantage.
In the news
- Harshal Patel has been ruled out for the rest of the season with an arm fracture. Manoj Tiwary and Manpreet Gony were seen trialling with Capitals.
- Manjot Kalra, who was out injured, had a fitness test on Thursday.
Knight Riders were 61 for 5, and put up 185. Prithvi Shaw's 99 had taken Capitals within 12 runs of the target with nine balls to spare, but they lost wickets off the last two balls, which meant they had to one-up Knight Riders once more in the match. Kagiso Rabada's world-class Super Over ensured they did.
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Sunil Narine, 2 Chris Lynn, 3 Robin Uthappa, 4 Nitish Rana, 5 Shubman Gill, 6 Dinesh Karthik (capt & wk), 7 Andre Russell, 8 Piyush Chawla, 9 Kuldeep Yadav, 10 Harry Gurney, 11 Prasidh Krishna
Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Colin Ingram, 6 Rahul Tewatia, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Axar Patel, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10, Ishant Sharma/Amit Mishra, 11 Sandeep Lamichhane/Trent Boult
- Delhi Capitals have a yorker efficiency of 50% at the death, which is the highest in the league this year. Rabada and Chris Morris are the duo to have achieved that. The addition of Trent Boult in place of Ishant Sharma could give them another dimension to their pace attack at the start, which could be vital in stopping Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn
- Prithvi Shaw has been dismissed thrice by length and back-of-length deliveries in the Powerplay this season. Prasidh Krishna's bowling style can help Knight Riders exploit this vulnerability
- Colin Ingram came with a reputation and a recent history of top T20 performances, but he has the second-lowest average (20.7) this season of batsmen who've scored a minimum of 100 runs. Most of those runs, however, have come against spin and his presence is crucial against a likely three-pronged spin attack
Stats that matter
- Dinesh Karthik has made 91 runs at a strike rate of 118.18 in five innings this season - it's his worst start to an IPL season since 2015
- These teams have hit a combined 45 sixes - which will be the highest coming into a fixture this season
- Lynn needs one run to complete 1,000 for Knight Riders, and Knight Riders need one win to complete 100 in IPL history. Only five T20 teams have done that before
Varun Shetty is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo