It’s disappointing to see the Delhi Daredevils already out of the tournament in terms on their chances of making the playoffs, they sit dead-last on the standings and look a defeated side both physically & mentally. For the Knight Riders, this could be the win that reinvigorates them as a team heading into the midway-stage of the tournament.
Twenty-six games into the 2018 IPL, it appears the Delhi Daredevils look disinterested and have just accepted their fate at the bottom of the points table which would be enormously-disappointing for Ricky Ponting and the coaching staff. A great debut in the IPL for Liam Plunkett who picked up 3/17 off four overs was a breath of fresh air in an otherwise-stagnant team, but Delhi’s bowling unit is the least of their concerns. Star Black Caps fast bowler Trent Boult has been good without being great, although it is debateable that he has been one of Delhi’s most consistent overall performers in IPL 11 with a nice gathering of wickets (9) in is six outings, striking at just under 15 which is a phenomenal effort for a quick in this type of environment. There’s no two ways about it, the Daredevils batting has been atrocious, particularly from their star players who have barely lifted a finger in terms of contributing runs this year. Freakishly-skilled all-rounder Glenn Maxwell is averaging a lacklustre 18.60 with the willow in IPL 11, while team management has messed up big time after dropping the electric-Kiwi opener Colin Munro after just two mediocre performances, leading to Jason Roy’s inclusion who also finds himself out of the side now. It’s one big mess at the moment, and on top of that Gautam Gambhir has stepped down as captain after his deteriorating-form with the bat, he’s managed an average of just 7.50 from his last four innings. Well & truly in damage control, Delhi need to regroup before things get even uglier than they already are. India’s youth has led the way for the Daredevils in 2018 so far, both Rishabh Pant and Shreyas Iyer showing their fellow-teammates how it should be done, combining for a total of 378 runs. As for the bowing attack, they need to keep taking wickets if the Daredevils are any chance of snatching a few wins in the remainder of their fixture, the signs are good from Liam Plunkett and Trent Boult, but individuals like Amit Mishra who possess that X factor need to utilize it now.
Kolkata are still in the race for the 2018 IPL title, but they need to start showing some consistency like their competition in Kings XI Punjab and the Chennai Super Kings. Their winning form has been patchy, but the overall performance has been quite consistent despite losing a couple games they should have won. Big-hitting Aussie phenomenon Chris Lynn scored his breakout knock of the tournament with a mesmerizing 74 off 41 deliveries against Kings XI, which unbelievably they lost due to a rain-affected contest which saw Punjab openers KL Rahul and Chris Gayle overrun the home side by a staggering nine-wickets thanks to the D/L system. That shouldn’t dampen Kolkata’s spirits though, it’s not like their entire team is out of form, quite the opposite actually with the likes of Robin Uthappa, skipper Dinesh Karthik and Nitish Rana all contributing a decent amount of runs each game alongside Chris Lynn at the top of the order. Just to give you an idea of how consistent their top five has been, here are some of the team averages in recent times; Uthappa is averaging 39 in his past three games, Lynn 38.50 from his past four games, Karthik 52 from his past three games and Rana 48.50 from his past three games as well. That’s a good indication of why they haven’t needed to tinker with the batting line-up, it’s been consistency at its very-best. To go with his decent form with the willow, Nitish Rana has been a handy part-time option with the ball claiming four scalps in just his 19 balls bowled for the entire tournament so far. Let’s not forget about their biggest X factor as well, the unpredictable & magnificent Andre Russell has once again been an asset down the order for the Knight Riders, they just need a little more out of him with the ball. West Indian spinner Sunil Narine continues to standout in their bowling attack, not a huge surprise given Kolkata’s lack of presence in that aspect of the game in season 2018, but it’s fair to say the batsmen are getting the job done for them at this particular point in time.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Delhi Daredevils | 26th match | Delhi
- Rishabh Pant
- Shreyas Iyer
- Liam Plunkett
- Trent Boult
- Colin Munro
Wildcard pick – Rahul Tewatia
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kolkata Knight Riders | 26th match | Delhi
- Dinesh Karthik
- Robin Uthappa
- Sunil Narine
- Chris Lynn
- Nitish Rana
Wildcard pick – Andre Russell
With Gautam Gambhir stepping down from the Daredevils captaincy, 23-year-old Shreyas Iyer has been named as the veteran’s replacement in the role which should allow Gambhir to focus on his own game after three-consecutive single-digit scores in the competition. With Gambhir’s struggling-form with the bat, they could potentially drop the former Knight Riders skipper and bring back Black Caps T20 specialist Colin Munro who was axed after just two games in IPL 11. They need a livewire opening batsman, and Munro brings everything required for that role which as a result might force one of Glenn Maxwell and Dan Christian out of the side. The availability of fast bowler Mohammed Shami is unknown at this stage due to suspected family allegations surrounding his wife and brother, as a result of that Avesh Khan could maintain his spot in the XI.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Simon Katich and the Kolkata Knight Riders have stated that Andre Russell will be fit for tomorrow night’s game despite aggravating a hamstring injury against Kings XI Punjab that forced him to leave the field. They might want to rotate Tom Curran for Mitchell Johnson in the bowling department to add a bit more pace to their attack, while Vinay Kumar could potentially replace Shivam Mavi in the starting XI as well.
Delhi Daredevils (possible) – 1. Colin Munro 2. Prithvi Shaw 3. Shreyas Iyer © 4. Rishabh Pant (wk) 5. Glenn Maxwell/Dan Christian 6. Vijay Shankar/Jayant Yadav 7. Rahul Tewatia 8. Liam Plunkett 9. Amit Mishra 10. Avesh Khan/Mohammed Shami 11. Trent Boult.
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Chris Lynn 2. Sunil Narine 3. Robin Uthappa 4. Nitish Rana 5. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 6. Andre Russell 7. Shubman Gill 8. Piyush Chawla 9. Shivam Mavi/Vinay Kumar 10. Tom Curran/Mitchell Johnson 11. Kuldeep Yadav.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.