Delhi Capitals desperate for turnaround with struggling Kolkata Knight Riders visiting

Delhi Capitals desperate for turnaround with struggling Kolkata Knight Riders visiting

Big Picture – Capitals optimistic despite 0-5 start

Delhi Capitals have had a calamitous start to their campaign this season, losing all five matches so far, but their captain David Warner still seems optimistic. “Teams have come back well from this position before and we can go on and do better,” he said after their loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore.

They do still have reasons to be positive at this stage – teams have bounced back well after losing five on the trot in previous seasons – but in the five-day gap between the previous match and the upcoming one, Capitals have also had to deal with an off-field issue. A number of players lost their bats and other equipment in transit from Bengaluru. More woes indeed.

Capitals have not played with the same XI in any of the five games, and their bowling unit has failed to defend totals. But their batting remains the biggest letdown. There are a number of big names in the XI but they haven’t fired so far – Warner included. He’s got three fifties but his strike rate stands at 116.92. His opening partner Prithvi Shaw has been enduring a poor run of form, with 15 being his highest individual score this season. Together, Warner and Shaw have put up a total of just 104 runs in five matches.

The only other team whose openers have a worse record is Kolkata Knight Riders – a total of 70 in five. Knight Riders have lost most wickets in the powerplay and have not scored a single six in that phase. Venkatesh Iyer has been making up for their failures, and has been a real threat in the last few games. In the previous match against Mumbai Indians, behind his 104, Andre Russell’s 21 was the highest score. The rest of the line-up has blown hot and cold.

Spin to win has been Knight Riders’ mantra this season, and they’ve particularly had a hard time on days when their spinners have not succeeded. Their fast bowling trio of Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav and Shardul Thakur have been expensive in the last few games. Their quicks have also taken only nine wickets combined – the least among all teams this season.

Form guide

Delhi Capitals LLL (last three matches, most recent first)
Kolkata Knight Riders LLW

Team News

Andre Russell’s recent leg troubles were due to ‘dehydration cramps’, according to Nitish Rana. Otherwise, he is match fit as are the rest of the squad members at Knight Riders.

It is understood that Capitals have called up Abhimanyu Easwaran and Priyam Garg for trials, but there’s no news of any injury barring Khaleel Ahmed’s hamstring strain from last week.

Toss and Impact Player strategy

Delhi Capitals

If Capitals bat first, they may name three overseas players and use the combination of Prithvi Shaw and Mustafizur Rahman for the Impact swap. Otherwise, no other changes are expected but could we see Axar Patel batting higher up? Assistant coach Shane Watson half-joked to reporters about it after the last game.

Capitals XII: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Prithvi Shaw, 3 Mitchell Marsh, 4 Yash Dhull, 5 Manish Pandey, 6 Axar Patel, 7 Lalit Yadav, 8 Aman Khan, 9 Abishek Porel (wk), 10 Kuldeep Yadav, 11 Anrich Nortje, 12 Mustafizur Rahman.

Kolkata Knight Riders

With Rahmanullah Gurbaz underperforming, Knight Riders will be tempted to bring in Jason Roy. In that case, N Jagadeesan will be their wicketkeeper. Venkatesh Iyer and Suyash Sharma are the likely Impact Player swaps, depending on the toss.

Knight Riders XII: 1 Jason Roy/Rahmanullah Gurbaz, 2 N Jagadeesan (wk), 3 Venkatesh Iyer, 4 Nitish Rana (capt), 5 Rinku Singh, 6 Andre Russell, 7 Sunil Narine, 8 Shardul Thakur, 9 Umesh Yadav, 10 Lockie Ferguson, 11 Varun Chakaravarthy, 12 Suyash Sharma.

Pitch and conditions

In the IPL since 2019, the teams batting second have been more successful at the Arun Jaitley Stadium, winning 10 out of 13 games. The weather is expected to be fine for the duration of the game.

Stats that matter

  • Warner has faced the most balls (195) in IPL 2023 without scoring a six.
  • Umesh Yadav has sent Warner back five times in the IPL – the most times a bowler has dismissed him.
  • Capitals have not lost their first five opening games in the IPL since 2013. They finished last that season.


“The most pleasing thing is not the runs that I am scoring, the thing is that I am back on the field and playing. That is something that six months back I didn’t think I would do – step on the field in such a big tournament. I am really grateful for that – scoring runs and all is secondary, bit I’m grateful to the almighty that I am just able to play on the cricket field.”
Kolkata Knight Riders allrounder Venkatesh Iyer

Sruthi Ravindranath is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

(With Inputs from ESPN)

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