THE KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS will take on the Delhi Daredevils in the second game of the 2016 IPL at the Eden Gardens today. Given their recent run in the tournament, the two-time champs KKR will enter this contest as the slight favourites. On the other hand, DD will be desperate to kick-start their campaign on a winning note.
The hosts went into the auction with a settled unit and didn’t tinker much with their squad. In fact, KKR are likely to have 10 international cricketers taking the field today. Furthermore, given the variety and match winners in their unit, the Knight Riders will fancy their chances of coming out trumps tonight.
Meanwhile, the Daredevils have continued their trend of chopping and changing their team but have been successful in retaining most of the marquee players from the previous season. Over the years, DD have been known as slow starters in the IPL, but with a new support staff in Rahul Dravid (mentor) and Paddy Upton (coach), the GMR-owned franchise will be looking for a fresh start.
As we saw in the WT20 finals, the wicket might once again be good for the batsmen. That said, the Eden Gardens has historically known to assist the spinners, but with some dew expected, it will be interesting to see how the spinners from both sides adjust to the conditions.
KKR will rely heavily on their all-rounders in Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell and Shakib Al Hasan to come up with the goods with both bat and ball. Also, like always, skipper Gautam Gambhir will strongly pin his hopes on his spinners. That said, trump card Sunil Narine’s chances of playing this game are bleak and that will present spinners such as Piyush Chawla and veteran Brad Hogg the opportunity to lead the attack.
On the other side of the dug-out, the visitors would be trying to figure out their best 11. However, with brilliant batsmen in Shreyas Iyer, Quinton De Kock and JP Duminy, Delhi fans will have some hope going ahead. However, Delhi’s biggest strength might well be their depth and variety in the bowling. Champion leggies in Amit Mishra and Imran Tahir can be quite difficult to negotiate in tandem.
On the fast bowling department, the likes of Chris Morris, Mohammad Shami and skipper Zaheer Khan will certainly make the attack more formidable. Finally, the inclusion of WT20 winning star Carlos Brathwaite will be extremely uplifting for the Daredevils.
Delhi will enter the game knowing that they will need to be on top of their game from ball one. Also, expect some bold and innovative moves from the dug-out led by Dravid. The Daredevils will come hard at the hosts, but given KKR’s experience and balance in the squad, the men in purple look better poised for 2 crucial points at the Garden.