Dubai: Once again, it is expected to rain sixes in Sharjah as Delhi Capitals take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in Saturday’s second match.
With shorter boundaries, it is the batsmen who have been making merry with plenty of sixes in just two encounters at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. So, expect nothing short of entertainment as KKR and DC cross swords in Match 16 of the IPL from 6pm on Sunday.
Much of the focus will arguably be on KKR all-rounder Andre Russell’s brute power that could possibly meet its match in DC wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant’s fearless approach.
Russell gave a glimpse of what to expect with three huge sixes on a bigger Dubai ground against the Rajasthan Royals last week. And not to be left behind, Pant will be itching to throw caution to the winds and play his natural game of destructive brand of batting.
There is Russell, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik and Eoin Morgan on one side, and then there is Pant, Marcus Stoinis, Shreyas Iyer, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimron Hetmyer and Prithvi Shaw on the Capitals’ side.
The Capitals seem to have got off to a rousing start after winning their opening two matches. They opened with a Super Over win over the Kings XI Punjab in the first match, and followed this up with a convincing 44-run win against former three-time champions Chennai Super Kings. However, the Capitals were brought back to reality as their fiery batting line-up failed to deliver and score the required 163 runs against the Sunrisers Hyderabad last week.
Dhawan, Hetmyer and Pant have yet to find their stride even though their bowlers led by Ishant Sharma and Kagiso Rabada with backing from Amit Mishra have done their bit so far.
The KKR side have been slowly getting into the groove with some comprehensive performances, and the last one in Dubai last week showed what the Knights are capable of.
The Knights’ young-looking pace attack of Kamlesh Nagarkoti and Shivam Mavi will have their task cut out on a batting paradise where their temperaments will be put to the test. In Sharjah, any bowler is destined to go for runs and how these two bowlers manage to rein in the strong Capitals’ batting line-up with their subtle variations.
In all likelihood, KKR won’t be tinkering with their winning combination even though Sunil Narine hasn’t exactly clicked in his role as an opener. So far, the all-rounder from Trinidad has managed just 24 runs in his three outings. But then, that’s exactly what Narine has been asked to do while opening the batting for the Knights.