Bruised and battered from the poor start to their IPL 2018 campaign, and compounded by the resignation of skipper Gautam Gambhir, a beleaguered Delhi Daredevils under young Shreyas Iyer face a daunting task to lift their fortunes as they take on Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here on Friday.
Currently languishing at the bottom of the Indian Premier League points table, the Daredevils will hope for a new lease of life under the new skipper even as KKR will attempt to take full advantage of the situation and press for their fourth win in seven games at the Ferozshah Kotla here.
After losing five of their six outings, Delhi have a tough task of winning seven of the remaining eight matches to be in contention for the play-offs and the onus is on 23-year-old Iyer and the team management to formulate the correct combination for a turnaround.
With Gambhir battling poor form and the rest of the batting order not clicking in unison, Delhi have so far been over-reliant on young Rishabh Pant.
Iyer almost single-handedly propelled Delhi to their second win in the IPL, in their previous match against Kings XI Punjab, only to fall short by four runs.
The Daredevils have not been particularly lucky on the fitness front either with Jason Roy (side strain) and Chris Morris (back problem) recovering. The only game Daredevils have won so far was shaped by Roy’s unbeaten whirlwind knock of 91 on debut against Mumbai Indians.
Another major worry for the Daredevils is the lack of form of Australian power-hitter Glenn Maxwell, who has scores of 17, 13, 47, 4 and 12 so far.
On the other hand, KKR will be hoping for another superlative show from their in-form batsmen, who have twice taken the side past the 200-mark.
Dinesh Karthik has led from the front in the batting department with the likes of his deputy Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Chris Lynn and all-rounder Andre Russell firing in unison.
The last time the two sides clashed, it was KKR which dominated by putting 200 runs on the board to win by a comprehensive 71-run margin.
KKR’r only concern will be their bowling, which has failed to defend even big totals. While the slow nature of the Ferozshah Kotla wicket may assist the spin trio of Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla and Sunil Narine, it will be interesting to see if Karthik and the management bring back veteran Mitchell Johnson to bolster the pace department comprising young Shivam Mavi and England’s Tom Curran.
Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer (Captain), Chris Morris, Rishabh Pant (WK), Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh, Liam Plunkett.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (Captain/WK), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna.