Hello and welcome to Qualifier 2 of the 2021 VIVO IPL between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals. Match starts at 7:30 IST (14:00 GMT)
Form concern for Capitals against Wrestling Knight Riders.
Kolkata Knight Riders have been on a fairytale ride since the start of the UAE stage of the tournament. Their top-ranked batsmen have consistently scored at high speeds and their spinners have suffocated opponents on sluggish pitches. Despite the fact that Eoin Morgan hasn’t been very impressive with the bat, he has helped the Knight Riders win six of their previous eight games.
Meanwhile, Delhi’s Capitals have been the most consistent IPL side in recent years – they are the only players to qualify for the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. The key to his success is to identify his best eleven early and change it only when he is forced to do so.
Marcus Stoinis topped the Capitals league stage this season despite missing out on five matches. But their line-up has cracked after their defeat to the Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1. His balance was broken in Stoinis absence, while R Ashwin’s bowling form gives him a headache. Can they quickly regroup and make it to their second consecutive final?
The goal-chasing teams have won five out of seven matches in Sharjah so far this season. In addition, four of the five defeats of the Capitals this season have come batting first, while the Knight Riders have won on all five occasions during the UAE phase of the tournament. It is no surprise if both teams are willing to bowl first.
Shakib Al Hasan has taken advantage of his limited opportunities in the BCCI UAE leg.
In the news
Andre Russell is still out with a hamstring injury. According to West Indies coach Phil Simmons, Russell Knight is batting in riders ‘ nets and “running at a certain level”. However, due to the slow nature of Sharjah’s surface, Knight Riders can stick with Shakib Al Hasan for the next 24 hours, even if Russell fits wonderfully.
Rishabh Pant expected Stoinis to be fit for qualifiers 1. This did not happen but the Capitals will have their eyes on them. Stoinis will replace Tom Curren in the team if available.
Delhi Capitals: 1 Prithvi Shaw, 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Shreyas Iyer, 4 Rishabh Pant (captain & wicketkeeper), 5 Shimron hetmire, 6 Marcus Stoinis/Tom Kuren, 7 Akshar Patel, 8 R Ashwin, 9 cagiso Rabada, 10 Enrique Nortje , ११ Avesh Khan
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Shubhman Gill, 2 Venkatesh Iyer, 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Nitish Rana, 5 Dinesh Karthik (wk), 6 ion Morgan (captain), 7 Shakib Al Hasan, 8 Sunil Naren, 9 Locky Ferguson, 10 Varun Chakraborty , 11 Shivam Mavik
The Capitals have tried Lalit Yadav, Steven Smith, ripple Patel and Kuren to fill the Hulk-sized hole that Stoinis has left behind. But none of them provide the balance provided by Stoinis, being a finisher who can bowl seam-up. A left field option could go back to Smith as Sharjah’s pitch is likely to adapt to his batting style. But considering Ashwin’s form, capital can continue with Karan.
If the Knight Riders remain unchanged, they will have five left-handed batsmen in the top eight. From above, this should work in Ashwin’s favor, but a closer look reveals that he doesn’t have a particularly impressive number in T20 cricket: 35 runs (no outs) at 74 balls against Nitish Rana, 21 runs at 60 balls (no outs) against Sunil Naren, 23 runs at 32 balls against Eoin Morgan (two dismissals). He has barely bowled against Venkatesh Iyer and only has a friendly match-up against Shakib: 31 runs in 30 balls and two out. Ashwin is usually an economical bowler in Powerplay, but Shubhman Gill conceded him in 25 balls for 38 runs without getting out.
Rana has struggled against Akshar Patel though. The left-hand spinner has knocked him out twice in 22 balls by only 23 runs. In this case, it will be interesting to see how the Capitals use their spinners.
Knight Riders can once again boost Naren in the batting order, especially when the spinners are working. In T20 cricket, Naren has a strike rate of 287.5 against Ashwin and 187.5 against Akshar. No bowler has been able to knock them out in 29 balls.
Instead of cagiso Rabada, the Capitol could use Enrique Nortje on death. Rabada’s death overs economy this season has been 10.84, while Nortje has only gone by 6.81 per over. Rabada can be used in the Powerplay and middle overs, where he has averaged 6.93 and 7.86 runs per over.
Statistics that matter
This season Ashwin has taken only five wickets in 12 matches with an average of 60.80 and a strike rate of 49.0. Ashwin has the lowest average and strike rate of the 40 bowlers who have thrown at least 22 overs in the tournament.
Knight Riders have played three matches in Sharjah this season. In two of them, against Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore, they did not score a single six.
Pant has a strike rate of 151.91 at 199 runs and an average of 49.75 in six innings in the IPL playoffs, including the finals.
The teams that scored more in Powerplay have won eight out of nine matches in Sharjah this season.
The Capitals have the most fours (227) and the fewest sixes (60) among all teams in the IPL 2021.