Rising Pune Supergiants blew out Mumbai Indians by nine wickets in the opening match of IPL 2016. Now it is time for Match 2 as the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) take on Sunday a rejigged Delhi Daredevils (DD) at the Eden Gardens.
KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir and his teammates have been going through extensive training at the venue ahead of the match. Gambhir, who has helped the Knights lift the IPL trophy twice, will be keen to get off to a winning start to the tournament.
Gambhir & Co will be well aware of the conditions and are likely to assess the wicket better than the visitors. The wicket is going to be an unpredictable one for sure, but spin will definitely add to the flavour.
KKR, in that case, will be missing the services of Sunil Narine, whose father passed away recently, and who will only be back before Wednesday's game against the defending champions Mumbai Indians. In spite of the absence of their star spinner, KKR have plenty of turners in their kitty. Brad Hogg and Shakib Al Hasan are the two obvious foreign choices for Gambhir.
The two-time champions have a balanced side and are to be considered favourites to win this match against the Delhi Daredevils. But cricket is a funny game as one never knows when things change.
With Rahul Dravid as mentor, the Daredevils are raring to come out with flying colours in IPL 2016. They have been one of the most inconsistent side in the history of the IPL. The Delhi outfit has kept on changing the core of the team and that has hurt in almost all the seasons.
Zaheer Khan, too, has plenty of options to pick his playing XI. He will rely heavily on Indian talents and all-rounders.
Shreyas Iyer, Quinton de Kock, who has been in very good form with the bat, Mayank Agarwal and Sanju Samson will be vying for the opening slot. However, Samson can bat in the middle-order as well.
All eyes will be on Carlos Brathwaite, who was one of the heroes of the ICC World T20 2016 final, as he is ready for his IPL debut. The Delhi fans will want him to be at his best and hope that he is worth the money the management shelled out for the West Indian all-rounder at the IPL 2016 auction.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) - Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Brad Hogg, Piyush Chawla/Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Morne Morkel/John Hastings.
Delhi Daredevils (DD) - Zaheer Khan (C), Shreyas Iyer, Quinton de Kock (wk), Sanju Samson, JP Duminy, Karun Nair, Carlos Brathwaite, Pawan Negi, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Imran Tahir.