IPL 2021 KKR vs DC preview: The Eoin Morgan challenge for Rishabh Pant

Rishabh Pant shuffles his bowlers on instincts and that will hold key when Delhi Capitals meets Kolkata Knight Riders at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad.

Shubman Gill will aim to turnaround his poor form as KKR faces Delhi.   -  BCCI/IPL

Rishabh Pant is an unpredictable captain. He shuffles his bowlers on instincts and that will hold key when Delhi Capitals meets Kolkata Knight Riders at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday.

The Knight Riders looked a different outfit when they restricted a star-studded Punjab Kings to 123/9 on Monday, but their batting department remains wobbly. Even while chasing a modest target, Eoin Morgan’s side was three down for 17 before the skipper upped the ante.

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Blessed with a variety of spin and pace options, the Capitals will be looking to run through the Knight Riders batsmen to close the game. Uncapped pacer Avesh Khan has been the best bowler with 12 wickets in six outings. The Indore boy has dismissed superstar hitters Virat Kohli and Jonny Bairstow in the recent past.

The addition of Ishant Sharma after R. Ashwin’s departure has augured well for the side. The experienced pacer got rid of the in-form Devdutt Padikkal in his first game of the season.

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The Hetmyer factor

After grinding for two years with mediocre returns, Shimron Hetmyer is finally blooming in the IPL. The unbeaten 53 off 25 balls against Royal Challengers Bangalore will give him a lot of confidence before he faces the likes of Pat Cummins and Sunil Narine.

Morgan’s decision to persist with Narine has reaped benefits for the Knight Riders. The experienced spin bowler has been among wickets and remains a strong support for rookie Varun Chakravarthy.

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Fast bowlers Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna know their lengths and pace variations which has kept New Zealand quick Lockie Ferguson out of the mix.

Rahul Tripathi has been the most consistent batter for the Knight Riders. Shubman Gill's form is a cause for concern and the right-hander will be keen on a big score to silence the critics.

The Knight Riders are slightly ahead on the head-to-head count with 14 wins in 25 outings against the Delhi (11 wins) outfit.

The Teams (From): Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (c/w), Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw, Ajinkya Rahane, Shimron Hetmyer, Marcus Stoinis, Chris Woakes, Shams Mulani, Amit Mishra, Lalit Yadav, Pravin Dubey, Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje, Ishant Sharma, Avesh Khan, Steve Smith, Umesh Yadav, Ripal Patel, Vishnu Vinod, Lukman Meriwala, M Siddarth, Tom Curran, Sam Billings and Aniruddha Joshi.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.

Match starts at 7.30pm IST. PTI