Delhi Capitals v Kolkata Knight Riders: Back Delhi to respond

Shreyas Iyer
Matt Harris is backing Captain Shreyas Iyer to lead with the bat against KKR

Delhi Capitals lost their 100% record to the Sunrisers last time out but Matt Harris is expecting skipper Shreyas Iyer to lead a response on Saturday...

"It’s been a solid opening but the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant are under pressure to step up."

Delhi Capitals v Kolkata Knight Riders
Saturday October 3rd, 15:00 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Delhi unable to capitalise

Delhi lost their unbeaten record on Tuesday with defeat to the Sunrisers but it's been a positive opening for Shreyas Iyer's side. Victories over Kings XI and CSK had given the Capitals a fast start but the team were shut down by Hyderabad and Rashid Khan's man of the match display.

There isn't quite as much mystery in Sunil Narine's bowling these days but Delhi's top order may face a similar issue on Saturday. While their bowling unit has impressed, the Capitals' individual batsmen have yet to make the really big scores with Prithvi Shaw's highest of 64 against Chennai being relatively modest by this tournament's standards. It's been a solid opening but the likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Rishabh Pant are under pressure to step up and take Delhi into the next phase.

Kolkata cool under pressure

I was dismissive of the KKR batting line up in their previous two matches but, while I've been proved wrong to an extent, it's largely down to their bowlers that they've four points out of a possible six so far. The top order will, at some point, surely miss the departed pair of Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa.

After an expensive opening match against Mumbai, Aussie quick Pat Cummins has hit form, adding economy to some vital wickets and he's received good support from the domestic seamers. KKR's key spinners Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav have struggled in comparison but they may enjoy greater success against a Capitals side that failed to cope with Rashid Khan last time out.

Sunny Sharjah plays host

This is the first of two games to be held at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium this weekend with Mumbai and the Sunrisers due in on Sunday. This is the third IPL 13 game to be played here and, in the previous two encounters, all four innings have reached the 200 mark.

Small Straight boundaries and one short square target have been of playground dimensions and are clearly difficult to defend. Once again, the weather isn't likely to intervene with another hot, dry and humid day in prospect.

Delhi out in front

Delhi Capitals are set to go into Saturday's game as favourites with current odds of 5/61.86. The momentum is with the Knight Riders following two straight victories and many will see value in their win price of 11/102.1.

The battle is likely to be decided by two, in-form bowling attacks and which of them can successfully defend the short boundaries. It's a tougher call than this market suggests but, with Kolkata's spinners Narine and Kuldeep unable to keep the runs down on bigger grounds, I'm just edging towards the Capitals in this one.

Skipper Shreyas to step up

Delhi's key batsmen have to score more heavily as this tournament progresses and the captain Shreyas Iyer is one man in need of a big contribution. Iyer's return of 82 runs from three knocks isn't the worst but it's indicative of an issue with batters failing to Capitalise on promising starts.

The skipper will improve and Iyer is my pick as Delhi's top batsman at around the 7/24.5 mark. There will be competition from the openers Prithvi Shaw and Shikhar Dhawan at 3/14.0 while Rishabh Pant will offer some value if he drifts to 4/15.0 but Iyer is the bet.

KKR to clear the ropes

Backing Kolkata Knight Riders to hit the most sixes is a slight hedge against the match result but they can convert as marginal 21/202.06 outsiders even if they go on to lose the game. England's World Cup winning skipper Eoin Morgan has found his range while Andre Russell has yet to fully fire.

Delhi Capitals are the favourites in this market at 21/202.04 while the tie at a generous 15/28.6 is a definite tempter but I'll side with the Knight Riders for once.

Matt Harris' IPL P/L

Staked: 9ts
Returns: 6.8pts
P/L -2.2pts

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