The Kolkata Knighriders face Delhi Daredevils at the Eden Gardens today. This return derby follows Kolkata’s win over the Delhi side by four wickets in Match 18 of this year’s IPL. KKR is favorite to win this match, having a commanding lead in the points table, with 12 points from eight matches at an impressive net run rate of +1.153 while Mumbai Indians, the other form team, have +0.514. Kolkata have been in sensational form this entire season, with a massive 83 run victory over the struggling RCB followed by a comfortable 7 wicket victory over the Rising Pune Supergiants in the last two games. The Pune side had vanquished the Mumbai Indians in their previous game, ending MI’s six match winning streak, and it was no mean task to stop Steve Smith’s men. KKR have been helped along by unexpected fireworks from spinner Sunil Narine’s bat. Narine, who replaced the injured Chris Lynn at the top of the order, has a strike rate of 182.66, and has contributed greatly with the bat and the ball in the making of the KKR success story.

On the other hand, the Delhi side is struggling to regain momentum after losing three straight games. Their last defeat at the hands of Mumbai Indians highlighted their poor batting performance in the tournament, with even a target of 142 seemingly out of reach. On the other hand, the bowling seems to be world class in Pat Cummins, Chris Morris and Kagiso Rabada, who made an impressive debut in their last match in Mumbai, which they lost by 14 runs.

Delhi will have to figure out how to stop captain Gambhir, who has been in golden form this season. He already has scored 305 runs in 8 matches, with three half centuries, and holds the Orange Cap as this goes into writing.

Meanwhile, West Indian all-rounder Marlon Samuels has replaced an injured Quinton de Kock in Delhi Daredevils for the remainder of the IPL season. De Kock had been ruled with an injury to his right index finger he picked up during the New Zealand tour last month.

When and Where

Eden Gardens, 1600 IST 28th April, 2017.

Head to Head

In 19 games between these two teams, Knight Riders have won 11 times. At the Eden Gardens, Knight Riders have won five of six games, their only loss coming in 2012.

The Likely XIs

Kolkata Knight Riders likely eleven

1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Sunil Narine, 3 Robin Uthappa (wk), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Suryakumar Yadav, 7 Colin de Grandhomme, 8 Chris Woakes, 9 Nathan Coulter-Nile, 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Umesh Yadav

Delhi Daredevils likely eleven

1 Aditya Tare, 2 Sanju Samson, 3 Karun Nair, 4 Rishabh Pant (wk), 5 Shreyas Iyer, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Chris Morris, 8 Kagiso Rabada, 9 Pat Cummins, 10 Zaheer Khan (capt), 11 Amit Mishra

Predictions :

  1. Zaheer Khan has an economy rate below six in the Powerplay overs, although that climbs to over 9 in the remainder of the match. He has also dismissed skipper and Orange Cap Gambhir six times in the IPL. His mixture of slower balls could make him a potent threat to both the openers.
  2. Sunil Narine has dominated Daredevils’ top order in the IPL. In a combined 56 balls against Sanju Samson, Karun Nair and Corey Anderson, he has conceded just 49 runs with three dismissals. Expect Narine to play a defining role both with the bat and the ball.
  3. Last match’s hero Uthappa has struggled against the Daredevil’s bowlers, managing just 139 runs in the 134 balls he has faced off DD’s bowlers. Delhi will be looking to scalp him early and set the hosts on the backfoot.