Team Delhi will look to pick up the first win of their Ahmedabad leg of fixtures when they cross swords with Kolkata at the Narendra Modi Stadium on Thursday, April 29.
Rishabh Pant's side enters the fixture on the back of a disheartening one-run loss to Bangalore. Nonetheless, the last year finalist sits third on the points table with eight points from six games. Kolkata, meanwhile, got over their four-match losing streak with a five-wicket win against Punjab, and they plot an upset over a wounded Delhi. Eoin Morgan and Co. sit fifth with four points.
Delhi vs Kolkata probable playing XI
Delhi could make a solitary change to their playing XI, which is South African pacer Anrich Nortje replacing Steve Smith. Knowing what Kolkata's batters could do, it seems just right to rest Smith, who has hit 80 runs so far, to bolster the bowling strengths with a bowler who bagged 22 wickets last season.
Delhi predicted XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Marcus Stoinis, Rishabh Pant (captain and wicket-keeper), Shimron Hetmyer, Axar Patel, Amit Mishra, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan
Kolkata might opt to swap Shubman Gill with Gurkeerat Singh Mann to keep him fresh for the upcoming game against Bangalore. As for the bowling order, skipper Eoin Morgan is unlikely to tickle with the formation from the previous game.
Kolkata predicted XI: Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, Dinesh Karthik (wicket-keeper), Eoin Morgan (captain), Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Delhi vs Kolkata prediction: Who will win?
Going by the record, Kolkata stands a favourite to win the game against Delhi, given they have 14 wins in 25 meetings. But taking into account the results from the last five meetings, Rishabh Pant's men have the advantage.
Additionally, Delhi's form this term has been comparatively better than that of Kolkata, who have just two wins from six matches. Thus, the safest choice here is a win for team Delhi.
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Top Tip: Best Batsmen
Delhi opening batsman and current orange cap holder Shikhar Dhawan is tipped as the top batsman to watch out against Kolkata. The left-hander has aggregated 688 runs at a strike rate of 120.7, with six fifties to his name. Dhawan will be eager to get the better of Andre Russell, against whom he has scored 58 runs at a strike rate of 165.71.
For Kolkata, all eyes will be on Dinesh Karthik to pile up the runs against Delhi. The veteran batsman has 439 runs against his Thursday opponents and must put out a confident knock to add to his tally of 109 runs so far this season.
Top Tip: Best Bowlers
Sunil Narine is poised to step for Kolkata and subdue the batting prowess of Delhi's top-order. The mystery spinner has 17 scalps in 15 meetings with Delhi and could add to the troubles of Rishabh Pant, who is currently struggling to score sixes with an average of 71.50 balls per six.
Delhi's Amit Mishra has somehow rejuvenated himself with six wickets this term, including a four-wicket haul against Mumbai. The 38-year-old has scalped 17 wickets against Kolkata and will be eager to put a break in Dinesh Karthik's inning, given the former has leaked 80 runs from 57 balls to the wicket-keeper-batsman.
Top Tips: All-Rounder and wicket-keeper
Andre Russell, without a doubt, is the top all-rounder in this contest. While he has been in a hot-and-cold phase this season, the West Indian's hard-hitting prowess is a blockbuster spectacle to watch. Over the course of today's game, Russell will breach past the 6,000 run mark in T20 cricket.
For the wicket-keepers, a battle between Rishabh Pant and Dinesh Karthik doesn't have an outright winner. While Pant comes with a promise of freshness and explosive batting, Karthik's experience with the bat and gloves could propel Kolkata to victory on Thursday.
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Featured photo: AFP / Xavier Galiana