Kolkata, May 6:
Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would look to continue their dominance at their home ground when they take on an unpredictable Delhi Daredevils (DD) in an Indian Premier League (IPL) encounter here at the Eden Gardens on Thursday.
While the Knights are third on the league table with 11 points from 10 games, the visitors are two rungs below at sixth with just eight points from 10 matches.
The Daredevils went down fighting in the last clash against the Mumbai Indians (MI) at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday, as the latter scraped past the target of 168 runs with just three balls and five wickets to spare.
KKR on the other hand delivered a stupendous performance with the leather, in their last match here against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Pacer Umesh Yadav was brilliant upfront followed by the efforts of spin twins Johan Botha and Brad Hogg who shackled the Sunrisers batsmen. Chasing 168 the visitors managed to notch only 132/9 in their 20 overs.
The odds favour the Gautam Gambhir-led KKR, who have beaten Delhi eight times in 14 games. Their first-leg encounter at the Ferozeshah Kotla was won by the defending champions by six wickets.
Delhi would bank on their top order to perform, including both openers Mayank Agarwal and Shreyas Iyer. Their star batsman Yuvraj Singh’s 57-run innings against Mumbia Indians would boost his confidence as that augurs well for the side.
However, belting away the Kolkata tweakers would be a difficult prospect for the middle-order batsmen of Delhi, particularly with Botha and Hogg being in such good form, ably supported by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla.
The Daredevils have a decent bowling led by veteran left-arm seamer Zaheer Khan and South African leggie Imran Tahir but bowling to a strong batting outfit comprising quality domestic willowers would be a tough ask.
While KKR would want to clinch the tie and go a step ahead in sealing a place in the play-offs, for the Daredevils it’s about surviving and keeping their hopes alive.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper), Piyush Chawla, Yusuf Pathan, Umesh Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav Veer, Pratap Singh, Kuldeep Yadav, Sumit Narwal, Sheldon Jackson, Aditya Garhwal, KC Cariappa, Vaibhav Rawal, Manish Pandey ,Shakib Al Hasan, Morne Morkel, Pat Cummins, Ryan ten Doeschate, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Azhar Mahmood, Johan Botha.
Delhi Daredevils: JP Duminy (captain), Quinton de Kock, Mayank Agarwal, Manoj Tiwary, Yuvraj Singh, Saurabh Tiwary, Angelo Mathews, Kedar Jadhav, Imran Tahir, Amit Mishra, Shahbaz Nadeem, Zaheer Khan, Jaydev Unadkat, Mohammed Shami, C.M. Gautam, Gurinder Sandhu, Jayant Yadav, Albie Morkel, Srikar Bharat, Marcus Stoinis, Dominic Muthuswamy, Shreyas Iyer, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Karapak Jiyas, Travis Head. (IANS)