A lot of emphasis has been put on fresh start for Delhi this year after their forgettable run in the last 11 editions. They are being referred as “New Delhi” and promise a reversal of fortunes this season. They kicked off brightly against Mumbai Indians but lost their first home game against defending champions Chennai Super Kings. The defeat quickly sparked comparisons with past seasons, despite it being only their second match.
It is a fact that Delhi have a solid team on paper. Rishabh Pant has already displayed his monstrous form, and Shikhar Dhawan, a notable import this season, scored 51 against Chennai. He, though, was a tad slow in run gathering, and Delhi would be looking to shrug it off as an aberration. If Delhi hope to impose themselves in the latter stages of the game, Dhawan’s contribution is crucial. A big score is also awaited from captain Shreyas Iyer, who hasn’t been himself in the last two matches. With Pant being in a rip-roaring form, he can be brought up the order rather than his usual No. 5.
The bowling spearheaded by Ishant Sharma and Kagiso Rabada can be effective if they keep a tab on leakage of runs, especially in the powerplay. The dry and sluggish pitch at Kotla didn’t quite suit the home team. With the exception of experienced leg-spinner Amit Mishra, none looked at home.
Against Knight Riders, Delhi need to make best use of home conditions. The former champions have won both their home contests against Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab and would be looking to complete a hat-trick of wins.
All-rounder Andre Russell, who rescued them against the Sunrises, is the star player for Kolkata. Though Chris Lynn is yet to show his prowess with the bat, the form of Robin Uthappa and Nitish Rana has been welcoming for Kolkata. They boast a strong spin attack comprising Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine, and Piyush Chawla, all three capable of exploiting the conditions at Kotla.
Kolkata leads the head-to-head 13-9 and although Delhi took their last game, they have won seven of the last nine. As the visitors strive to improve their away record, Delhi would look to strengthen their hold at home, if they wish to expand their fanbase.