Both the team started the season on a good note, where the knights have maintained a balanced winning side and kept up with expectations, Delhi have suffered a bit, as they have choked in the later part of the season.
As far as points table goes, Kolkata is aiming to attain a top two, while Delhi would be aiming for a fight back to keep them in the race for playoffs.
Kolkata, after an off day against Lions at Eden, was back in momentum against Royal Challengers Bangalore posing a threat to the team leading them to lowest IPL score in history. After a humiliating RCB, KKR seems to be in good confidence and carry some of that to Eden Gardens on Friday.
Who can forget the previous match and that partnership of Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan? Manish Pandey (69*) and Yusuf Pathan (59) played superb knocks to guide Knights to a four-wicket win over Delhi Daredevils in the Match 18. Opting to bat, DD scored 168/7 in 20 overs which KKR overhauled for the loss of six wickets with a ball to spare.
Sanju Samson and Sam Billings put on a quickfire 53-run stand off 37 balls for the opening wicket to give DD a brisk start against KKR. DD’s run rate dipped after losing both their openers but Shreyas Iyer came to the rescue as he added 43 runs with Karun Nair for the third wicket. Pant scored a quickfire 16-ball 38 that included four sixes and two fours.
Coulter-Nile, who finished with figures of 3/22, came up with a wicket-taking ball whenever DD’s batsmen looked in menacing form. He started off breaking a dangerous-looking opening partnership of Samson and Billings.
Pandey, who played an unbeaten knock of 69 off 49 balls, and Pathan, who scored 39-ball 59, came up at a time when KKR were struggling to get going after early jolts from DD pacemen. But the duo kept their nerves and put on an 110-run stand for the fourth wicket to dash DD’s hopes. Both were belligerent right from the word go. Pandey, who scored four fours and three sixes, kept his calm in the tense last over in which KKR needed 9 runs for victory which immediately changed into 8 in 3. But Pandey hit a timely six off Amit Mishra and then went for two to seal the victory.
Already making it obvious of their presence in playoffs , now the fight is for the top two and to look out how they will carry forward their momentum from this time.
Gautam Gambhir as a skipper must play the key role in team’s decisions. he had been great this season. The other change which may occur in case the skipper opts to do so will be the inclusion of Shakib al Hasan in place of Colin de Grandhomme. The Kiwi all-rounder has been impressive with the ball which might help him stay in the XI.
Nathan Coulter-Nile might have been rested but would return to squad most probably in Eden and the other top strike bowlers for the Knights would play as henceforth.
Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir, Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Surya Kumar Yadav, Colin de Grandhomme/Shakib al Hasan, Chris Woakes, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Kuldeep Yadav