Big picture

Delhi Capitals' win against Rajasthan Royals means they are effectively through to the knockout stages: there is still a mathematical chance that they could be eliminated before but no side has ever missed out on qualification with 16 points, their current tally. Two wins from their final four games should be enough to seal a top-two spot - and a double-chance to reach the final - so the rest of the group stage will be as much about honing their combination and strategy as results themselves.

For Kolkata Knight Riders, the situation is very different. After starting the UAE leg of the tournament with consecutive wins while chasing, Knight Riders were squeezed out by Chennai Super Kings on Sunday in a final-over thriller to leave them fourth - but level on points with the teams in fifth to seventh, including Rajasthan who play their game in hand against Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday.

There have been plenty of positive signs since the IPL's resumption for KKR, not least the emergence of Venkatesh Iyer at the top of the order and the performances of their overseas bowlers in Lockie Ferguson and Sunil Narine, but Eoin Morgan's form with the bat is a growing concern. Morgan has had the worst of both worlds in the last year, spending long periods of time away from home in biosecure conditions without enjoying much time in the middle, and admitted towards the end of the Hundred in mid-August that he needed some time off to refresh ahead of the IPL and the T20 World Cup during the English winter.

Since the culmination of last year's IPL, he has averaged 18.92 with a strike rate of 123.72 in all T20 cricket, without scoring a half-century. His innings in the past week - 7 off 8 balls and 8 off 14 - have been scratchy and KKR will hope that is due to a lack of rhythm and playing time rather than a more permanent decline. A return to form would be particularly welcome in the likely absence of Andre Russell, which may allow Morgan to shift back down to No. 5 or 6.

In the news

Russell picked up a hamstring injury against Chennai while completing a boundary save and while David Hussey, a KKR mentor, said it was "too early to tell" how serious it was in the post-match press conference, it would be a big risk to include him so soon after the blow given his injury history. Ben Cutting is the closest they have to a like-for-like replacement but Shakib Al Hasan may edge him out given the slowness of the Sharjah pitches so far.

Delhi fielded only three overseas players in their last game, with Lalit Yadav replacing Marcus Stoinis after he picked up a niggle in their win against Sunrisers which will also rule him out on Tuesday. Sam Billings is a candidate to come into the middle order but only left quarantine on Monday morning.

Likely XIs

Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Rishabh Pant (capt/wk), 5 Lalit Yadav, 6 Shimron Hetmyer, 7 Axar Patel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 Kagiso Rabada, 10 Anrich Nortje, 11 Avesh Khan

Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Shubman Gill, 2 Venkatesh Iyer, 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Shakib Al Hasan, 5 Nitish Rana, 6 Eoin Morgan (capt), 7 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 8 Sunil Narine, 9 Lockie Ferguson, 10 Prasidh Krishna, 11 Varun Chakravarthy

Strategy punt

  • Could KKR return Narine to his middle-order role with the bat? He made 64 off 32 balls against Capitals from No. 5 last season, with Ricky Ponting memorably irate on the sidelines at Shreyas Iyer's reluctance to bring back one of his fast bowlers to bounce him out, but Narine showed in the Hundred that he has improved again the short ball and has the ability to hook quicks for sixes.
  • Lalit Yadav had a walk-on role in his return to the playing XI, making 14 not out off 15 balls and not bowling, but KKR's surfeit of left-handers could bring him into this game as a matchup bowler. In his brief IPL career he is yet to concede a boundary against lefties with his offspin, and all three of his victims - including Narine and Morgan in the reverse fixture - have been left-handers.
  • Stats that matter

    • Capitals have come out on top in five of their last six meetings with Knight Riders, including a Kagiso Rabada-inspired Super Over victory in 2019.
    • Ambati Rayudu became Narine's 150th wicket in a KKR shirt on Sunday.
    • Following his 24 against Rajasthan, Rishabh Pant needs 32 more runs to overtake Virender Sehwag as Capitals' all-time leading run-scorer in T20 cricket.
    • DC and KKR have been the two most expensive bowling teams at the death this IPL season, conceding 10.38 and 10.22 runs per over respectively.
    • Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98