With the Kotla wicket behaving as tiredly as it was expected to, all the remaining games here are likely to be ones with the spinners in focus, beginning with Delhi’s clash against Kolkata on Saturday night. Kolkata’s batting seems in supreme touch and it will be up to the twirlers in the Delhi squad to halt their charge.
Conditions: The last game here – between Chennai and Delhi – saw a slow track where scoring was not as free-flowing. Expect more of the same with the pitch getting even slower.
Injury updates: There aren’t any reported injuries so all the players are likely available for the game.
Fantasy Tips: If you are looking for possible captain choices for a head to head contest, you could go with these ‘Safe Captain Choices’.
Andre Russell: Why wager against a good run? Russell seems to be in brilliant touch and in the event of a batting failure, his bowling provides possible insurance.
Nitish Rana: He has been in fantastic touch and is the current purple cap holder (as of 29th March) with 131 runs in two games. One more thing, he also has the most sixes in the league this season so far.
Axar Patel: His slower variations make him an important bowling threat at Kotla and his batting services in the lower middle order may be called upon as well.
However if you are willing to take a bit more risk in a grand league contest, maybe consider these ‘Risky Captain Choices’
Chris Lynn: Like KL Rahul for Punjab, Lynn hasn’t been able to cobble a good start together so far. But the kind of rhythm player he is, a calculated risk is to wager on him finding his feet at Kotla.
Amit Mishra: The leg spinner had a tidy 4-1-23-2 against Kolkata in the same fixture in 2018; his familiarity with these conditions may make him a possible difference maker.
Ishant Sharma: Has been the surprise of the tournament so far after playing his first Indian T20 League match since 2017, with 3 wickets at a strike rate of 14 so far in 2019. Once again, the Delhi conditions and his variations in length may combine to prove effective.
Delhi lost against Chennai but luck did play a part with an in-form Rishabh Pant falling to a great catch. But their key may be the spinners and they are likely to pick Sandeep Lamichanne, the Nepal legspinner who has five wickets at an impressive economy of just 6.83 an over in the three games he played. He has proved his chops in other T20 leagues too, averaging just 19.64 and an economy of 6.88 in 32 games. South Africa’s All-rounder Chris Morris returns to the squad and will probably play against Kolkata at Delhi.
On this slow wicket, it will all boil down to how Delhi’s bowlers put a throttle on Kolkata’s scoring prowess. Andre Russell has potential weaknesses against spin and Delhi might just get their share of luck and come up winners.
Wicket-keeper: Rishabh Pant
Batsmen: Prithvi Shaw, Shikar Dhawan, Colin Ingram, Shreyas Iyer(c)
All-Rounders: Chris Morris, Axar Patel
Bowlers: Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Sandeep Lamichanne, Kagiso Rabada.
Wicket-Keeper: Dinesh Karthik(c)
Batsmen: Chris Lynn, Nitish Rana, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill
All-Rounders: Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla
Bowlers: Lockie Ferguson, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna.
Wicket Keeper: Rishabh Pant
Batsmen: Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana (VC), Shikar Dhawan
All-Rounders: Andre Russell (C), Sunil Narine, Axar Patel
Bowlers: Piyush Chawla, Lockie Ferguson, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada
Wicket Keeper: Rishabh Pant (C)
Batsmen: Chris Lynn, Shubham Gill, Shreyas Iyer
All-Rounders: Axar Patel, Sunil Narine (VC).
Bowlers: Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Piyush Chawla, Lockie Ferguson, Amit Mishra