Dubai: The Qualifier 2, a virtual semi-final, promises to be a battle of the bowlers when Delhi Capitals take on Kolkata Knight Riders at the spin-friendly Sharjah Cricket Stadium tomorrow (Wednesday 13th October).
Though both teams rely heavily on their bowling strength, Delhi have the edge over Kolkata after skipper Rishabh Pant found his touch with a battling knock in the Qualifier 1 against Chennai Super Kings earlier this week.
Despite losing a few quick wickets, Delhi rallied on the back of Pant and Shimron Hetmyer’s partnership to score 172 for five in 20 overs. It is in the middle order where the Knight Riders lack the stability, which was evident against Royal Challengers Bangalore at the same venue on Monday.
If they could struggle against not-too-strong Bangalore bowling, Capitals will be pouncing on them should Kolkata give even a slightest of chance to their rivals. A cameo from Sunil Narine, who hit three sixes off Dan Christian to score 22 runs in one over, tilted the match in Kolkata’s favour while chasing a target of 139. The Knight Riders also benefited from a couple of dropped chances, a largesse they cannot expect from Delhi.
Kolkata will be relying largely on the top three batsmen, Venkatesh Iyer, Shubman Gill and Rahul Tripathi, to play longer innings while giving a brisk start. However, it might not be an easy task against Delhi’s menacing pace trio of Kagiso Rabada, Anrich Nortje and Avesh Khan on a wicket where the ball stops a bit.
Kolkata have the edge in head-to-head record — 15 wins, 12 loses and 1 no result — in 28 clashes so far. This year, however, both teams have won one each before Wednesday’s knockout clash. However, I expect Delhi Capitals to bring all their experience to the fore and book a place in the final.