Eyeing their first Indian Premier League title, Delhi Capitals will face another litmus test in the form of a Kolkata Knight Riders unit brimming with optimism when the two sides lock horns in the second qualifier in Sharjah on Wednesday.

Rishabh Pant and Co lost to Chennai Super Kings in the first qualifier and will be keen to bounce back strongly and secure their spot in the final for the second time in two seasons.

Two-time IPL champions KKR will take confidence from their victory against Royal Challengers Bangalore in Monday’s eliminator that dashed Virat Kohli’s hopes of winning an IPL title as captain with his longstanding franchise.

If the emphasis is on momentum and peaking at the right time then KKR will definitely fancy their chances on Wednesday, despite their opponents’ resources and depth in the lineup.

DC, who topped the league stage with as many as 10 wins for a total of 20 points, are well aware of the task that awaits them.

Balanced Delhi

Since Australian great Ricky Ponting took over as their coach, Delhi Capitals have grown from strength to strength as they finished second runners-up in the 2019 edition before reaching the summit clash last year.

This year there aim is to do one better and win the title.

They are one of the most balanced sides in the tournament with a formidable batting line-up and a potent pace attack that is aided by seasoned spinners including Ashwin Ravichandran and Axar Patel.

In Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Shreyas Iyer, Delhi boast of a solid top order. Pant, along with Shimron Hetmyer, have been in form in the middle order, with Australian all-rounder Marcus Stoinis being a possible inclusion.

Dhawan (618) was the second highest run-scorer in IPL 2020 and has already scored 551 runs this season. His opening partner Shaw is also coming off a good game against CSK.

On the bowling front, the South African pace duo of Kagiso Rabada (IPL 2020 Purple Cap winner) and Anrich Nortje is world class, having taken 52 wickets together in 2020.

Then there is pacer Avesh Khan, who has taken 23 wickets so far this season, and he will back himself to add to his tally against KKR.

DC have posted five wins in the UAE leg of the tournament but one of their defeats came against KKR, and what better opportunity for them to exact revenge than in the IPL playoffs.

DC's path Qualifier 2

Match  Result  Venue 
CSK vs DC  DC won by 7 wickets  Mumbai 
RR vs DC  RR won by 3 wickets  Mumbai 
DC vs PBKS  DC won by 6 wickets  Mumbai 
DC vs MI  DC won by 6 wickets  Chennai 
SRH vs DC  DC won in Super Over  Chennai 
DC vs RCB  RCB won by 1 run  Ahmedabad 
DC vs KKR  DC won by 7 wickets  Ahmedabad 
PBKS vs DC  DC won by 7 wickets  Ahmedabad 
DC vs SRH  DC won by 8 wickets  Dubai 
DC vs RR  DC won by 33 runs  Abu Dhabi 
KKR vs DC  KKR won by 3 wickets  Sharjah 
MI vs DC  DC won by 4 wickets  Sharjah 
DC vs CSK  DC won by 3 wickets  Dubai 
RCB vs DC  RCB won by 7 wickets  Dubai
Qualifier 1 CSK won by 4 wickets Dubai

DC's best batters in IPL 2021

PLAYER Inns Runs HS Avg SR 50 4s 6s
Shikhar Dhawan 15 551 92 39.35 127.54 3 62 14
Prithvi Shaw 14 461 82 32.92 159.51 4 54 17
Rishabh Pant 15 413 58* 37.54 129.06 3 41 10
Shimron Hetmyer 12 225 53* 37.50 167.91 1 19 10
Steve Smith 7 152 39 25.33 112.59 0 13 2
via iplt20.com

DC's best bowlers in IPL 2021

PLAYER Inns Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w 5w
Avesh Khan 15 23 3/13 18.60 7.50 14.86 0 0
Axar Patel 11 15 3/21 18.26 6.52 16.80 0 0
Kagiso Rabada 14 13 3/36 33.30 8.32 24.00 0 0
Anrich Nortje 7 10 2/12 15.60 5.92 15.80 0 0
Amit Mishra 4 6 4/24 18.16 7.78 14.00 1 0
via iplt20.com

Upbeat Kolkata

Eoin Morgan’s side have enjoyed a massive reversal of fortunes in the UAE after enduring a forgettable first half in India earlier this year.

They just about managed to sneak into the playoffs at the expense of five-time champions Mumbai Indians, thanks to their better net run-rate.

Things changed for the better after they landed in the UAE and if their performance against RCB is any indication, KKR are raring to go and will want to do more than just end their campaign in the playoffs.

On a pitch offering turn, KKR’s spin duo of Varun Chakravarthy (16 wickets so far) and Sunil Narine, who is on a high after his superb all-round performance against RCB, will look to test the formidable Delhi batting lineup.

Batting hasn’t been KKR’s biggest strength this season and DC will look to capitalise on that.

Up against a potent bowling attack, the likes of Shubman Gill, Venkatesh Iyer, Rahul Tripathi (the team’s top-scorer this season with 393 runs so far), Dinesh Karthik and Morgan himself will need to rise to the occasion if KKR is to make the final, where Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s three-time winners Chennai Super Kings await.

KKR's path Qualifier 2

Match  Result  Venue 
SRH vs KKR  KKR won by 10 runs  Chennai 
KKR vs MI  MI won by 10 runs  Chennai 
RCB vs KKR  RCB won by 39 runs  Chennai 
KKR vs CSK  CSK won by 18 runs  Mumbai 
RR vs KKR  RR won by 6 wickets  Mumbai 
PBKS vs KKR  KKR won by 5 wickets  Ahmedabad 
DC vs KKR  DC won by 7 wickets  Ahmedabad 
KKR vs RCB  KKR won by 9 wickets  Abu Dhabi 
MI vs KKR  KKR won by 7 wickets  Abu Dhabi 
CSK vs KKR  CSK won by 2 wickets  Abu Dhabi 
KKR vs DC  KKR won by 3 wickets  Sharjah 
KKR vs PBKS  PBKS won by 5 wickets  Dubai 
KKR vs SRH  KKR won by 6 wickets  Dubai 
KKR vs RR  KKR won by 86 runs  Sharjah 
Eliminator KKR won by 4 wickets Sharjah

KKR's best batters in IPL 2021

PLAYER Inns Runs HS Avg SR 50 4s 6s
Rahul Tripathi 14 383 74* 29.46 142.37 2 41 10
Shubman Gill 15 381 57 25.40 121.72 2 43 11
Nitish Rana 14 370 80 33.63 122.92 2 34 16
Venkatesh Iyer 8 265 67 37.85 123.25 2 28 8
Dinesh Karthik 13 214 40 26.75 133.75 0 22 6
via iplt20.com

KKR's best bowlers in IPL 2021

PLAYER Inns Wkts BBI Avg Econ SR 4w 5w
Varun Chakaravarthy 15 16 3/13 24.00 6.40 22.50 0 0
Sunil Narine 12 14 4/21 22.00 6.41 20.57 1 0
Lockie Ferguson 6 12 3/18 11.83 6.45 11.00 0 0
Prasidh Krishna 10 12 3/30 29.25 9.11 19.25 0 0
Andre Russell 8 11 5/15 17.09 9.89 10.36 0 1
via iplt20.com


Delhi Capitals: Rishabh Pant (captain), Ajinkya Rahane, Prithvi Shaw, Ripal Patel, Shikhar Dhawan, Shimrom Hetmyar, Shreyas Iyer, Steve Smith, Amit Mishra, Anrich Nortje, Avesh Khan, Ben Dwarshuis, Ishant Sharma, Kagiso Rabada, Kulwant Khejroliya, Lukman Meriwala, Pravin Dubey, Tom Curran, Umesh Yadav, Axar Patel, Lalit Yadav, Marcus Stoinis, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sam Billings and Vishnu Vinod.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (Captain), Dinesh Karthik, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Karun Nair, Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathy, Shubman Gill, Harbhajan Singh, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pawan Negi, M Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Dube, Tim Southee, Vaibhav Arora, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russel, Ben Cutting, Shakib Al Hasan, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sheldon Jackson, Tim Seifert.

Delhi vs Kolkata IPL head-to-head

Matches Delhi wins Kolkata wins
Overall 27 12 15
In 2021 2 1 1
Since 2019 6 4 2
Since 2020 in UAE 3 1 2

Brief scores from 2021 meetings:

Match No 25, Ahmedabad:

Kolkata Knight Riders: 154/6 in 20 in overs (Andrew Russell 45, Shubman Gill 43; Lalit Yadav 2/13, Axar Patel 2/32).

Delhi Capitals: 156/3 in 16.3 overs (Prithvi Shaw 82, Shikhar Dhawan 46; Pat Cummins 3/24).

Match No 41, Sharjah:

Delhi Capitals: 127/9 in 20 overs (R Pant 39, S Smith 39; L Ferguson 2/10, S Narine 2/18, V Iyer 2/28).

Kolkata Knight Riders: 130/7 in 18.2 overs. (N Rana 36 not out, S Gill 30; A Khan 3/13).

With PTI and iplt20 inputs