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Kolkata Knight Riders are surely in one of their worst phases in the competition and it seems that things are only getting worse. Captaincy change hasn’t come off well for the Eoin Morgan led side and despite Kolkata’s position in the league, there is no doubt that they have been extremely poor at times.

Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, are more or less confirmed to play a part in this season’s playoffs and the entire team deserves the credit. The team had a shaky start to the competition but they have only moved forward, strength by strength, game by game. Prithvi Shaw had a good start to the tournament while Shikhar Dhawan struggled as he tried to curb his natural attacking game.

Now, when Shaw has been struggling to put numbers on the board, Shikhar Dhawan has suddenly become Delhi’s most reliable batsman. Dhawan’s last four games have been two half-centuries followed by back-to-back centuries respectively. He has been phenomenal most of the time while luck has played it part in some games.

He is the only batsman in this season’s IPL to score two tons and the difference in both the tons depicts that Dhawan would want more. The last game between the two teams was a high-scoring one with Delhi putting up 228 on the board when it was Shaw and not Dhawan who was firing. Shaw scored 66 from just 41 balls and his partnership with Shreyas Iyer laid the foundation for the massive total at Sharjah. The skipper was the highest scorer on the day, scoring 88* with Risabh Pant’s quick 38.

In response, Kolkata were settling well with Shubman Gill and Nitish Rana after losing Sunil Narine’s wicket. However, Andre Russell and Dinesh Karthik’s poor display in the middle increased the pressure on Morgan who gave his best and managed to score 44 off 18 with Rahul Tripathi who also fired a quick 36.

The next game between the two is going to be played on Saturday, 24th October in Abu Dhabi.  

Head to Head

Matches: 26, Kolkata: 13, Delhi: 12

Team News

Kolkata were absolutely shambolic against Bangalore as they recorded one of their lowest totals in the history of the competition. It all started with Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana getting dismissed in really quick succession but what hurt the fourth-placed team the most was Shubman Gill’s wicket.

The team needed someone to stay on the pitch and anchor the innings and Gill could’ve easily done it considering how he has been in the tournament. But he has literally thrown his wicket in the last two games and Brendon McCullum would have hated it. As far as their selection in the next game is concerned, the team can do well if they plan it well.

For Delhi, things have barely gone wrong this season and every move made by them has been fruitful to them in some or the other way. However, they would want to make things right after their loss against Punjab and would want other batsmen apart from Dhawan to step up their game too.

Pitch and Conditions

Abu Dhabi has been a very tricky pitch this season. It has offered some advantage to the batsmen as well while the extra bounce has ruined the innings of many too. Kolkata have won four out of their seven games here while Delhi have lost both the games they’ve played in Abu Dhabi so far.

A score around 170 would be good enough for the team batting first while a team that sets well after the first ten overs can finish the job in the second innings too. The temperature will be around 30 degrees and the humidity is expected to touch 45%.

Probable Playing XI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR): Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Tom Banton, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Eoin Morgan (C), Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi/Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy.

Delhi Capitals (DC): Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (C), Rishabh Pant (WK), Marcus Stoinis, Shimron Hetmyer, Anrich Nortje/ Daniel Sams, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Tushar Deshpande.  

Key Battles

Shubman Gill (KKR) vs Kagiso Rabada (DC)

Shubman Gill (KKR) vs Kagiso Rabada (DC)

Shubman Gill has been far away from the form he once had in this edition of the IPL. He has been batting with very little concentration and it seems he is rushing too much. He will be against Rabada, probably the only bowler who is yet to receive a thrashing by any batsman in the tournament.

Rabada has 21 wickets to his name and he will look to add more to his tally. The record for the most wickets is by Dwayne Bravo who took 32 wickets in a season. Rabada is 12 wickets away from breaking the record but the question is will his dominance continue? Or will Shubman Gill strike back?

Lockie Ferguson (KKR) vs Shikhar Dhawan (DC)

Lockie Ferguson (KKR) vs Shikhar Dhawan (DC)

Kolkata will be extremely disappointed, having a bowler like Lockie Ferguson on the bench for the first half of the tournament. Ferguson has both qualities of wicket-taking and being economical but this time he will be against the in-form ‘Gabbar.’

Dhawan has suddenly come out of the blue and has proved why he is one of the best openers in the world. In the last four games, he has been in almost every possible scenario and has managed to help his team get out of there. With Delhi giving trying their best to seal the spot in the playoffs, Kolkata will and should try their best to keep themselves alive.

Prediction

Considering Kolkata’s recent performances, Delhi Capitals are the clear contenders for the win. However, Kolkata have the potential to go against the odds. All it takes is a decent performance by both the departments and some experienced played trying to lead by example.

Abu Dhabi has presented some unexpected thrillers and both teams would hope that the other is not at their best today. Being at the business end of the tournament, any mistakes from now on will cost the teams severely and the players will have to keep that in mind.

Cricwizz predicts Delhi Capitals to win the match