Ben Cutting is reliable but the express pace of Milne can rattle Kolkata at the Eden Gardens. Since the Knight Riders’ top-order isn’t exactly awe-inspiring, Mumbai can look to shock them at the top.
Kolkata pacer Shivam Mavi injured his finger the last game and was replaced by Prasidh Krishna. Dinesh Karthik might be inclined to give Mavi more time to rest as Krishna looked effective in the last game against Mumbai even though he didn’t take any wicket.
Also, Kolkata might be inclined to push Shubman Gill lower down the order and open with Sunil Narine again.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Tom Curran
Mumbai Indians: Suryakumar Yadav, Evin Lewis, Rohit Sharma (c), Ishan Kishan (wk), Krunal Pandya, Hardik Pandya, JP Duminy, Adam Milne, Mitchell McClenaghan, Mayank Markande, Jasprit Bumrah
Languishing at the bottom of the table with seven defeats in 10 games, the Daredevils are all but out of contention of making the IPL playoffs. Shreyas Iyer’s men will need to win their remaining four matches and hope for a string of results to go their way to stand any chance of making the last four.
On the other hand, qualification should be no problem for the Sunrisers who are looking like the team to beat this year with a staggering eight victories in 10 matches.
BOOM OR BUST FOR DAREDEVILS
It was a seven-wicket defeat to the same opposition last week that sounded the death knell for Delhi’s playoff qualification hopes.
Iyer’s men had 28 runs to defend in the last two overs but let the game slip out of their grasp in a hugely costly defeat. As fate would have it, the side can still mathematically progress to the last-four though the odds remain minimalistic.
It was Trent Boult and Dan Christian who let the side down that time and those two will need to put in a shift with the ball on Thursday if Delhi are to have any chance.
HYDERABAD EMERGING AS CLEAR CONTENDERS
Coming into the game on the back of five wins on the bounce, Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers are starting to break away from the rest of the chasing pack.
Their bowling unit remains unparalleled in the competition and has gone up a notch in quality since the return of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who was mighty impressive in the win over Royal Challengers Bangalore.
In the batting, Williamson himself has been exemplary while the likes of Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey and even Yusuf Pathan have chipped in at crucial periods. As of now, there seems to be no chink in the Hyderabad armour and they are the indisputable favourites to go all the way.
Delhi Daredevils: Prithvi Shaw, Colin Munro, Shreyas Iyer (c), Rishab Pant (wk), Naman Ojha, Vijay Shankar, Daniel Christian, Liam Plunkett, Amit Mishra, Avesh Khan, Trent Boult.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Hales, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan, Wriddhiman Saha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Siddharth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma.
The Royal Challengers’ hopes of making the playoff hang by a thread after their latest defeat to Sunrisers Hyderabad which meant the side has now lost seven out of their 10 games.
Nevertheless, the South African ace has heaped praise on Kohli while speaking about their ever-growing friendship during a commercial event on Tuesday.
“He’s (Kohli) a great guy and I love playing with him. He’s become a great captain and an even better friend. So it’s been great. He’s always been an inspirational character and we have a few leaders in the team that carry the guys in the tough times. We just want to look ahead and try to get better,” De Villiers said.
The South African was dismissed for five runs in the loss to Hyderabad after being bowled by Rashid Khan. While praising the Afghanistan leg-spinner, the swashbuckling batsman maintained that he was happy with his personal form.
“I am batting very well. I am very, very happy. Rashid got me out previously. We haven’t played a lot against each other but he bowled well and he’s a very good bowler. I have a lot of respect for him,” he explained.
The Bengaluru franchise is currently in seventh spot in the league table and will require something close to a miracle to make the last four even if they win their remaining four matches.
Though he is focused on the next match against Delhi Daredevils, De Villiers conceded that the side’s performances had not been up to scratch so far.
“No we haven’t played well. It’s been very disappointing but there are four games left and I would love to not live in the past much. The focus is on what’s coming and that is Delhi, so we need to win that game and hopefully get a bit of a run going.”