New Delhi. Today is the third double header (2 matches in a day) of the second half of IPL 2021 (IPL 2021). In the first match of the day, the last runner up Delhi Capitals will face Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR vs DC). Delhi’s position is strong. The team has almost confirmed its place in the playoffs by winning 8 out of 10 matches. On the other hand, Delhi is far away for Kolkata. In the points table, KKR are still looking at the fourth position with 4 wins. But Punjab Kings (PBKS), Mumbai Indians (MI) and Rajasthan Royals (RR) can spoil his game. Because these three teams have also won the same number of matches as Kolkata.
In such a situation, Kolkata will have to register a victory against Delhi at any cost. But the challenge is bigger for captain Eoin Morgan. Morgan will be looking for answers to two questions. Is Andre Russell fit to play in this match? And would it be worth playing with another spinner in Sharjah’s slow pitch in the form of Shakib Al Hasan?
Andre Russell is injured
Russell was injured while saving a four in the match against Chennai Super Kings on Sunday. His muscles are strained. Will he play against Delhi or not? It’s not clear yet. Given Russell’s injury history, Morgan would not be in a hurry to feed him. In such a situation, who will replace him is the big question.
There are two players in this race. One Ben Cutting and the other Shakib Al Hasan. If we look at Russell’s direct replacement, then Cutting may get a chance. But given the slow pitch of Sharjah, Shakib’s claim is strong. Cutting played in this season of PSL held in UAE. But his performance was not very good.
Shakib played T20 series against New Zealand and Australia before IPL. The pitch used in this series was as slow as Sharjah. In such a situation, he can strengthen the team of KKR. Shakib took 4 wickets in 4 T20Is against New Zealand. He also bats well in the middle order. In such a situation, Shakib should be Captain Morgan’s first choice as a replacement for Russell.
Shakib may get a chance in place of Russell
The two pitches that have been used so far in Sharjah are good for spinners and slow bowlers. These pitches have not helped the fast bowlers much. The average score in the first match was 140. In such a situation, the Kolkata team management can rest either Lockie Ferguson or the famous Krishna. Because both of them are fast bowlers. Famous had given 22 runs in the 19th over against Chennai in the last match and due to this, Kolkata had to face defeat. Maybe they should be given rest.
No change expected in KKR’s batting
Not much change is expected in the batting. Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer will open the innings. Rahul Tripathi can play at number three. In the middle order, Captain Morgan, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik will strengthen the team.
KKR need to bowl well in the death overs
Kolkata will have to bowl well in the death overs. Because this is the weak link of the team. In IPL 2021, KKR and Delhi Capitals are the only two teams which are conceding the most runs in the death overs. Delhi giving runs at an average of 10.38 and Kolkata 10.22.
Probable playing 11 of both the teams
Kolkata Knight Riders– Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi, Shakib Al Hasan/Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (Captain), Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine, Varun Chakraborty, Pranali Krishna, Lockie Ferguson/Ben Cutting.
Delhi Capitals– Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant (capt/wk), Lalit Yadav, Shimron Hetmyer, Akshar Patel, R Ashwin, Kagiso Rabada, Anrik Norkhia, Avesh Khan.