It’s crunch time for both the Delhi Capitals and the Kolkata Knight Riders. A slip here and the fall can be steep.
Their Tata-IPL clash at the Wankhede Stadium on Thursday is a face-off between two wounded predators. Both teams have three wins each. KKR, with eight matches, has played a game more. And both teams find themselves in the table’s bottom half.
Delhi Capitals with Prithvi Shaw — such a joy to watch — David Warner, Rishabh Pant and Rovman Powell, has the batting firepower. The question is have Capitals recovered mentally from the bust-up at the end of their clash against Rajasthan Royals with all that acrimony over a possible no ball for height?
Capitals have a useful pace pack with Khaleel Ahmed, Shardul Thakur and Mustafizur Rahman complementing each other. And the steady Axar Patel and the rejuvenated Kuldeep Yadav can derail sides with contrasting spin.
KKR has still not figured out its best opening combination and which is the right slot for last year’s sensation, Venkatesh Iyer.
And ‘mystery’ spinner Varun Chakravarthy — he hardly plays for his State team Tamil Nadu these days with IPL being his livelihood — is being carted around the park.
Andre Russell still packs a punch with the bat and the ball, Sunil Narine continues to be a miserly wicket-taker, and the wily Tim Southee, a better bowling option than Pat Cummins, can still nick batters out. On the wearing Wankhede pitches of inconsistent bounce, the side that seizes opportunities will win.