Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders, Sharjah
Small ground, good batting pitch, so pack your team with batsmen from both teams but also include the experienced bowlers.
Our XI: Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Eoin Morgan, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer, Shimron Hetmyer, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje
Substitutes: Dinesh Karthik, Prithvi Shaw, Nitish Rana, R Ashwin
NOTE: We might not always be able to tip you off about late injury (or other relevant) updates, so please finalise your team after the toss.
Player availability: R Ashwin is back in training, and could be up for selection after recovering from a shoulder injury, sustained in their tournament opener.
Captain: Rishabh Pant
An ideal pitch to bat on and a very small ground, so Pant must be as eager as ever to get on to the field. He is batting at No. 4, his preferred position, this season as well, and that gives him more time to settle in and then go big at the end. Since 2018 in the IPL, Pant has scored at 49.44 with a strike rate of 166.48 at No. 4.
Vice-captain: Andre Russell
Russell came in to bat at No. 4 in the last game and not many will be surprised if he bats that same position this time around as well. He will then have time to pick his bowlers and deposit a few balls out of the ground. Karthik did not use Russell’s services with the ball last game but since most bowlers are likely to go for runs in Sharjah, just to mix it up, Russell might bowl a couple of overs too.
Eoin Morgan: Morgan has already played a couple of cameos in the three innings so far. Another strong hitter who likes to strike a lot of boundaries and will probably do so given the conditions. If Ashwin doesn’t feature in the XI, Morgan will have only a legspinner and a left-arm spinner to tackle and that makes his chances of scoring higher.
Pat Cummins: After a poor first game, Cummins has come back with two excellent games. His experience up top with the ball will be invaluable. Especially in a ground where the conditions will be in favour of the batsmen. Cummins’ economy in the powerplay this season has been 5.57 so he can keep a check on the Delhi batsmen to start with.
Shikhar Dhawan: Dhawan has gotten off to a couple of starts but has failed to make it big. These are the ideal conditions to get some runs and confidence under his belly. He got off to a similar start in the previous season as well but ended up with 521 runs in the end at a strike of 135.67. We believe this could be the start of a good season for Dhawan.
Sunil Narine: Narine becomes doubly effective when batsmen to try go after him. On a smaller ground with the wicket expected to be a fresh one, batsmen will go after him and that gives Narine a higher chance of getting wickets. Since he is continuing to open the batting, he could make an impact with the bat as well.
Shimron Hetmyer: Batting at five, Hetmyer will be given the license to go pretty much from ball 1 and that’s what he likes to do as well. Any ground isn’t big enough if he gets going let alone Sharjah. Since 2017 in all T20s his strike rate keeps increasing as the innings goes along. He strikes at 120.85 in the powerplay, 134 in the middle overs and 177.41 at the death.
Rishabh Pant, in the IPL since 2018 averages 52.5 and strikes at 171.32 in the 1st innings and 38.07 in the second innings at a SR of 154.04. So if the Capitals bat second, consider Shubman Gill as your captain.
Anrich Nortje should keep his place but if he is dropped, pick either Mishra or the bowler who replaces Nortje.
Sunil Narine the batsman has struggled against good pace in the tournament but we have picked him for his wily bowling. Varun Chakravarthy, a similar bowler is an option to replace Narine.
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