In the second of Saturday’s double headers, the Delhi Capitals host the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Feroze Shah Kotla - home ground for the newly christened team. Delhi had a strong start to their campaign at IPL 2019, completing a 37-run drubbing of the Mumbai Indians. The team’s newest purchase - Shikhar Dhawan, the best batsman for the Sunrisers Hyderabad last year, paid off, with the former India opener scoring a fairly quick 43 runs. A number of decisions by Delhi at the auctions late last year, including the purchase of former Delhi player Colin Ingram, paid off for the side for their match against Mumbai at Wankhede, with Ingram making 47 off 32 deliveries. The star of the evening was young Indian player Rishabh Pant, however, whose 78 off only 28 deliveries - giving him a staggering strike rate of 288, gave Delhi an almost unassailable total from the get-go.
Kolkata and Delhi have played a total 23 matches against each other, with the scales firmly tilted in favour of the visitors. The Kolkata Knight Riders have a staggering 13 wins, with 9 to Delhi (one match saw points shared between the teams).
The last match these two sides played against each other, in April 2018, saw Delhi take a more than convincing win - by a massive 55-run margin. Of the two teams’ matches, eight have been hosted by Delhi at the Kotla, who have only three wins at home - something that they will definitely want to address. Delhi in particular have retained most of their core batting line-up with the exception of Glenn Maxwell, but the real kicker will be in Dhawan’s presence on the side.
Andre Russell and leg break:
It goes without saying that Andre Russell has been the Kolkata Knight Riders’ standout star. Each of his innings this year in the IPL has been big-big-scoring and quick-fire when his team needed it; 48 off 17 deliveries against the Kings XI Punjab, prior to which he scored an unbeaten 49 off 19 deliveries against the Sunrisers Hyderabad side.
Russell is strongest against pace bowlers, so spinners on the Delhi pitch might trouble him somewhat. The Jamaican averages a robust 11.75 rpo against pace, but a relatively lower 9.05 runs an over against spin. Right-arm spin in particular is Russell’s weakest spot, against whom he goes at 6.90 runs an over, as opposed to left-arm spinners, whom Russell takes for 11.90. Russell’s run rate against leg break bowlers - as both Lamichhane and Mishra are, is 6.95 runs per over, and therein lies perhaps the strongest argument for Delhi to bowl Sandeep Lamichhane today.
Given that Russell comes in at No. 5, and Amit Mishra - also a right-arm spinner - is at his most economical in the middle overs, Delhi will be all too happy to bowl him. Mishra’s boundary percentage from overs 7-15 is 11.17% - crucial against a boundary-happy big-shot playing batsman such as Andre Russell. He goes at
With the teams’ past history at the Kotla, considering the pitch, and the fact that Kolkata are a stronger side in terms of spin on the slow Kotla wicket, this match looks firmly tilted in favour of the visiting side.