The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will face the Delhi Capitals (DC) in game 19 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 edition at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. This will be the first clash of the double-header. Kolkata have been in impressive form in IPL 2022. Having played four matches, they have registered wins in three of them. In their last game, they held Mumbai Indians (MI) to 161, after which Pat Cummins smacked a record-equaling fastest fifty to pound them. Delhi have been somewhat disappointing. They managed to defeat Mumbai by four wickets but since have gone down to the Gujarat Titans (GT) and the Lucknow Super Giants (LSG). Against LSG, their batting let them down as they managed only 149 for 3 on the board. Here are five player battles to watch out for.
1. Venkatesh Iyer vs Mustafizur Rahman: KKR opener Venkatesh Iyer was not at his fluent best against the Mumbai Indians. However, he did occupy the crease and ended up scoring a hard-fought half-century. The knock would have given him some much-needed confidence moving forward in IPL 2022. Iyer will now look to build on the same. Everyone has seen how Iyer can score at a fast pace once he gets his eye in. He will face a stern challenge from the experienced Mustafizur Rahman, who will run in hard and attempt to dislodge him early. The Bangladesh left-arm seamer has been in a very good rhythm and will be expected to strike early.
2. Prithvi Shaw vs Umesh Yadav: What a mouth-watering prospect this promises to be. Even though DC lost the last game, opener Prithvi Shaw was in terrific form. He took on the LSG attack from the word go and cracked a scintillating 61 in 34 balls with the aid of 9 fours and two sixes. Shaw will be keen to carry on his momentum into the clash against KKR. However, he will be greeted by pacer Umesh Yadav, who will run in hard and get the ball to move around. Umesh has been in sensational form this season, dismantling one opposition after the other. KKR will expect him to knock over Shaw cheaply as well and get the team off to a good start.
3. Shreyas Iyer vs Kuldeep Yadav: Even as Kolkata have been winning, new skipper Shreyas Iyer has had his struggles with the bat. He has been troubled by spinners, leg-break bowlers in particular. Against RCB, he fell to the guile of Wanindu Hasaranga and in the match against PBKS; he gave his wicket away to Rahul Chahar. Against Mumbai, he perished cheaply to the short ball. DC do not have a quality leg-spinner but will look to unleash Kuldeep Yadav on Shreyas. The left-arm spinner has been in sublime form in IPL 2022. He has found his rhythm and the right areas to bowl. He can trouble the KKR captain if he gets things right.
4. Rishabh Pant vs Sunil Narine: DC skipper Rishabh Pant has scored some runs, but he has clearly struggled for momentum. After scoring 43 against Gujarat, he remained unbeaten on 39 off 36 deliveries against Lucknow. Pant did hit a few sixes but it was hardly a fluent effort. The DC skipper will need to lift his game and lead from the front. Sunil Narine will look to outfox Pant with his variations. He has looked threatening in all matches and if Pant decides to take him on, it will be at his own peril.
5. Andre Russell vs Shardul Thakur: Andre Russell will come in and look for the big hits as usual at the end. He has done well in one game, where he hammered an unbeaten 70 off 31 balls against Punjab. He will be keen to come up with another attacking knock if he gets a chance. DC pacer Shardul Thakur found some rhythm after two poor games. He bowled good yorkers against LSG. Can he unsettle Russell if the two come face-to-face?