IPL 2021: Focus On Openers As KKR Meet Delhi Capitals In Qualifier 2

Sharjah:  After a comprehensive win over Royal Challengers Bangalore, two times champion Kolkata Knight Riders will lock horns with Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 2 of the IPL 2021, here on Wednesday.

Wednesday’s Qualifier 2 in IPL 2021 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium promises a high-stakes clash between two teams who are vying for a spot in the finals of the tournament. The equation is simple; the one that wins faces Chennai Super Kings in the final on Friday, while it will be curtains for the losing team.

While DC come into this game after losing in Qualifier 1 to CSK, KKR will be full of confidence after a 4-wicket win over RCB in The Eliminator. Both sides have beaten each other once in the ongoing season.

Eoin Morgan-led Kolkata Knight Riders have been on a fairytale ride since the UAE leg of the tournament began. A bulk of Kolkata’s success in the UAE leg, winning six out of eight matches, has been around fantastic starts by their openers Shubman Gill and Venkatesh Iyer. Iyer shined bright with impressive knocks while Gill has been able to stay at the crease for long. Rahul Tripathi and Nitish Rana have chipped in with useful cameos despite the lack of runs from skipper Morgan.

Their pacers Lockie Ferguson, Shivam Mavi have picked wickets at regular intervals while spinners Varun Chakravarthy, and Sunil Narine have stifled opposition batsmen on sluggish tracks.

Narine, who starred with the ball (4/21) and bat (26 runs) against the Virat Kohli-led RCB in Eliminator, will be brimming with confidence ahead of this high-octane clash. Andre Russell is still recovering from his hamstring injury and in his absence, Knight Riders are likely to continue with Shakib Al Hasan given the slow nature of the Sharjah pitch.

Delhi Capitals, on the other hand, continued their impressive show from India to UAE and topped the league stage with 20 points. But after their defeat to Chennai Super Kings in Qualifier 1, chinks seem to have emerged in their line-up.

In the absence of Marcus Stoinis, their balance looks compromised, while R Ashwin and Rabada’s bowling form is a concern for them. DC drafted Tom Curran in place of Ripal Patel in Qualifier 1 and he is likely to play against KKR if Stoinis remains unavailable.

Their openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan will look to continue their good batting form but Shreyas Iyer will have to come good for DC with the bat in the crucial match. Iyer is known for attacking spinners and it will be a battle to watch out for against Narine and Chakravarthy.

The chasing teams have won five out of seven games in Sharjah in IPL 2021. Moreover, four of Capitals’ five losses this season have come while batting first, while Knight Riders have won on all five occasions when chasing during the UAE leg of the tournament. So it will not be a surprise if both teams are looking to bowl first.

Squads:

Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (C) (W), Ajinkya Rahane, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Axar Patel, Chris Woakes, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Pravin Dubey, Prithvi Shaw, Ravichandran Ashwin, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer, Shreyas Iyer, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddharth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings, Ben Dwarshuis, Kulwant Khejroliya

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (C), Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (W), Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Tim Seifert, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Karun Nair, Harbhajan Singh, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer, Pawan Negi, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Tim Southee

(IANS)