The Knight Riders lost their second match of the campaign on Saturday but Matt Harris expects KKR to overcome Delhi, providing they address key selection issues...
"The Knight Riders made a number of selection changes ahead of Saturday’s game with Sunrisers but nothing worked for Dinesh Karthik’s side."
Kolkata Knight Riders v Delhi Daredevils
Monday, 15:30 BST
Live on Sky Sports Cricket
Selection Issues for KKR
The Knight Riders made a number of selection changes ahead of Saturday's game with Sunrisers but nothing worked for Dinesh Karthik's side as they posted a sub par 138/8. Shubman Gill and Shivam Mavi came in for their debuts while Sunil Narine was pushed down from his pinch hitting position at the top of the order to number four.
It was a confusing approach after a positive start to the tournament: Gill and Mavi came in at seven and eight respectively while the latter was given just one over. Narine was subdued, coming in after the Powerplay and Kolkata will clearly need to look at this again.
KKR arguably possess the best spin attack in the tournament and the efforts of Narine, Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav made SRH wait until the 19th over before getting over the line. Those three, along with a selection rethink, will be key for the home side on Monday.
Delhi's Positive Changes
Delhi, unlike KKR, had to make some changes after two opening defeats and it was Jason Roy, with a brilliant unbeaten 91, who came in to seal victory over Mumbai. Roy claimed the Man of the Match award but credit also has to go to the Daredevils bowlers who pulled Mumbai back after Evin Lewis and Suryakumar Yadav had produced the highest Powerplay total of IPL 11 so far.
Having gone round the park as Mumbai raced to 166/2 after 15.4 overs, Mohammed Shami, Trent Boult and Dan Christian somehow kept the target under 200 so Delhi will be looking for their death bowling to be equally effective at Eden Gardens.
Roy for Colin Munro was a like-for-like switch but when the English opener finds form he tends to maintain it so suddenly, it's all looking far more positive for the Daredevils.
Sub Par KKR
The average first innings score at Eden Gardens in 2017 was 164 so the Knight Riders were some way under par with their modest 138. A break for rain didn't exactly aid fast scoring but the side taking first knock should be looking at something approaching RCB's 176 which was made on this surface last Sunday.
That rain is expected to stay away on Monday although either side of the game, the forecast is poor. Irrespective of conditions, the pattern of victories dictates that the side winning the toss will almost certainly insert.
The trend will be broken eventually but over the first ten games of IPL 11, only the rain-affected match between Rajasthan and Delhi has gone to the side batting first. KKR are the favourites here at [1.69] with the Daredevils some way back at [2.36] but is it just a case of waiting for the toss and backing the chasing team?
When this game came up on the schedule my first reaction was to back Kolkata so I'm sticking with that without the benefit of knowing who will take first knock. I'm concerned now after those odd changes in selection and batting order but if KKR address those they should have greater depth in batting and bowling and enough to get over the line.
Chris Lynn provided the only real batting positive for KKR with his 49 from 34 balls and I'm backing him to deliver another profit in Kolkata's top batsman market at 12/5. Without the distraction of Sunil Narine at the other end, the Australian was free to dominate and he should press on in this tournament if he can keep clear of injury.
Narine is second favourite at 7/2 and it is possible he will open on Monday as he's wasting a slot at number four. Other options include Nitish Rana and Robin Uthappa, both at 4/1, but Lynn is the pick.
I took a profit last time by backing the outsiders in the six hitting market and once again there's some good value here. KKR are favourites to hit the most maximums at 8/11 but Delhi are generous at 6/4.
It may need Jason Roy to deliver the majority of these but with support from Rishabh Pant and Glenn Maxwell, the ploy of taking the outside punt will hopefully work again.
Matt Harris' IPL 2018 P/L