Cricket Indian Premier League Prediction
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Gujarat Titans - Match Preview
🏏 29 April 2023 - 14:00 GMT +0
The second half of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL) season kicked off wonderfully for Kolkata Knight Riders when their bowlers held their nerve in a 21-run win over Royal Challengers Bangalore that stand-in RCB captain Virat Kohli described as “a freebie handed over to them”. That perhaps doesn’t give Kolkata the credit they’re due for their most recent outing, having been one of the IPL’s most expensive bowling units right throughout all phases of bowling innings this year.
They returned home to Kolkata with a W3 L5 record that still had them in the bottom four at the conclusion of their last match, with plenty of work left to do and an even sterner test ahead of them when reigning champions Gujarat Titans visit Eden Gardens for the second time. After the pre-match outsiders won an astounding seven of their eight games to date, including the infamous five consecutive sixes from Rinku Singh when these teams clashed in Ahmedabad, they’ll be hoping to keep the upsets coming.
After previously losing more powerplay wickets than any other franchise in 2023, the Knight Riders appear to have finally sorted out their top order after half a season of failure with Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Narayan Jagadeesan and Mandeep Singh as openers. It could heavily depend on English import Jason Roy continuing his outstanding start to his campaign (43, 61, 56) right throughout the tournament, with no Kolkata the only team yet to have a single batter record 100+ powerplay runs this season. They’ve now cleared 200+ runs four times already this year, including when chasing 205 against the Titans in the reverse H2H.
Gujarat still looks to be a very well-put-together side under the tutelage of Ashish Nehra and Gary Kirsten, and had any other Titans bowler has been able to defend 28 runs in the final over against Kolkata in place of the now-sidelined Yash Dayal, they would be sitting at the top of the standings with a W6 L1 record. They also struggled in the second half of their bowling innings when losing to co-title favourites Rajasthan Royals, highlighting their bowling during the final ten overs as one chink in their armour.
Up front, the Titans have still been dominant with bat and ball. They boast by far the league’s best powerplay economy rate (7.29rpo), led by six powerplay wickets at 6.57rpo from strike bowler Mohammed Shami and figures of 2/43 from captain Hardik Pandya’s seven powerplay overs. The latter is a very interesting development in their game after Hardik spent months not being able to bowl for club or country due to various physical issues, and his bowling has again become an asset to his IPL side. Perhaps owing to their initiation into the competition at a time when they had no home fixtures because of pandemic regulations, the Titans have won all three away trips (Delhi, Mohali and Lucknow) so far in 2023.
⚡ Players to watch: Despite admitting after his last match that he does not intend on meeting his newborn son until after the tournament, Kolkata spinner Varun Chakravarthy remains inspired and dedicated to his work. He has returned to Kolkata’s best figures three times this season following a Player of the Match award in their last outing.
Amidst the chaos of Rinku Singh’s heroics, it was almost easy to forget that Rashid Khan claimed what appeared to be a match-winning hat trick in the reverse H2H. He added that to his 2/22 for Gujarat against the Knight Riders in 2022 and now has to get to work on his comparatively mediocre record of five wickets from five IPL games at Eden Gardens.
📋 Stat attack: Kolkata hit the most sixes in ten of their last 11 Eden Gardens matches, with the other a tied count. That includes the most recent eight.
- Five of the last six IPL games at Eden Gardens produced first innings scores of 200+ runs.
- Gujarat has recorded the highest opening partnership of the match five times this season, compared with just once for Kolkata.
- Similarly, the Titans also scored the most powerplay runs in six IPL 2023 matches, whilst the Knight Riders did so just once.
- Jason Roy has struck 68 runs from 35 balls bowled by Hardik Pandya in all T20s.
- Nitish Rana was dismissed just once from 76 balls, bowled by Rashid Khan for 95 runs.
- Andre Russell, on the other hand, has now fallen four times to Rashid for 33 runs scored following the previous H2H.
Delhi Capitals vs Sunrisers Hyderabad - Match Preview
🏏 29 April 2023 - 18:00 GMT +0
Six days after they locked horns in Hyderabad, Delhi Capitals and Sunrisers Hyderabad will do it all again. The swathes of coaches and analysts from both sides have had almost a week to work out the strengths and weaknesses of one another, with no distractions in between, ahead of a second consecutive head-to-head that will almost certainly result in the loser being the first franchise of this Indian Premier League (IPL) to forget about the playoffs.
The first half of the league phase concluded earlier this week with Delhi dead last courtesy of an inferior Net Run Rate (NRR) to Hyderabad despite a narrow seven-run victory over Sunrisers, in a slow grind (144/9 to 137/6) that was indicative of how both teams have been struggling with the bat despite being blessed with talent. At the time, Delhi (7.50rpo) and Hyderabad (7.84rpo) were the two slowest scoring teams of the competition respectively, with the Capitals losing an enormous 60 wickets and the Sunrisers not boasting a single player to be scoring at 8+ rpo during the powerplay.
Nonetheless, the psychological advantage of four consecutive H2H wins should give them a shot in the arm, as they should have picked up their first home victory of 2023 in their most recent outing - even if they needed almost their entire 20 overs to chase down a meagre 128 after being strangled by Kolkata’s spinners. Hyderabad’s pace-heavy attack could be more to Delhi’s liking, on that note, though Delhi’s batters are averaging less than 19 runs per wicket against both slow and fast bowling in 2023.
The Sunrisers won each of the last two H2H clashes to take place in Delhi (2019 and 2018), but that bears no weight coming into this trip with long-time fast bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar the only member likely to play for the men in orange on each occasion. David Warner and Manish Pandey have since defected and both contributed modestly to the win in Delhi less than a week ago.
The visitors looked to have got their season back on track with consecutive wins earlier in the season, but that preceded three straight defeats, including to Delhi and Mumbai, who finished the first half of the season in the bottom four of the standings. They’ve already been held to 145 runs or fewer on five separate occasions this season (whether batting first or second), with poor seasons from Mayank Agarwal (6.69rpo) and Rahul Tripathi (6.76rpo) holding back their progress.
⚡ Players to watch: One of 12 players in this year’s edition to have been involved in the inaugural IPL in 2008, 34-year-old Ishant Sharma has returned to the side with outstanding economy and incisiveness, collecting figures of 3-37 from his seven overs. One record that stands to be improved is his history against Hyderabad, in which he has claimed just four wickets from 22 overs albeit at a fair economy rate (7.55rpo).
The sight of blue may be enough to give Rahul Tripathi nightmares given his career haul of just 167 runs from 11 innings against Delhi and a best of just 36. He was already probably losing sleep after four consecutive scores of less than 25 following promising knocks of 34 and 74* to begin the season.
📋 Stat attack: Sunrisers have hit the most sixes of a match on just one occasion and the most powerplay runs also just once in 2023, whilst the reverse H2H was one of just two times that Delhi posted the most sixes in a game this year.
- All but one of the last 12 H2Hs saw the team with the most powerplay runs go on to win the match.
- Neither Manish Pandey nor Axar Patel has ever struck a half-century against the Sunrisers in 25 innings combined.
- Umran Malik has bowled six overs in two games against Delhi for career figures of 0-66.
- Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Manish Pandey in T20s: 4/22 from 22 balls.
- Ishant Sharma has never dismissed Mayank Agarwal in a T20 (0/50 from 27 balls).
- Axar Patel bowled three deliveries to Aiden Markram in the IPL and T20Is for figures of 2/2.
- From their six innings combined in Delhi this year, David Warner and Axar Patel have registered five scores of 35+ runs and 19 not out. Warner has finished with Delhi’s outright or joint top score five times in 2023.
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