Match 42 – 8:00pm local time on Thursday, May 7, 2015 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Kolkata Knight Riders – $1.61 at www.Bet365.com
Delhi Daredevils – $2.34 at Crownbet.com
Thursday night’s clash between Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Daredevils pits one of the title contenders against a side desperate to keep touch with the top four.
KKR’s defence of their 2014 Indian Premier League crown has been a hit and miss affair to date, as only once in 10 fixtures have they managed two consecutive victories.
Despite that up and down form, Trevor Bayliss’ charges are sitting pretty in outright third on the IPL table after their resounding 35-run victory over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Monday.
Having posted a solid but unspectacular 167, the Kolkata attack got off to a perfect start as Umesh Yadav (2/34) dismissed Naman Ojha and danger man David Warner in his first over.
Sunrisers fought back through Moises Henriques, but Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Johan Botha and the evergreen Bradley Hogg killed the contest with some very tight bowling as Hyderbad scraped together just 132 from 20 overs.
It was another impressive display from 44-year-old Hogg, whose left-arm wrist spin has now produced eight wickets in four matches while conceding only 6.2 runs per over.
The Australian veteran’s form is very much a silver lining for Kolkata, as he might not have featured at all this season had Sunil Narine’s off break not been banned by the BCCI last month.
As it stands, however, the West Indian hasn’t played in the IPL Twenty20 since April 22 and could well miss the remainder of the campaign, as he faces suspension should his stock ball be cited again.
Meanwhile, Delhi Daredevils will be hoping the likes of Imran Tahir and Amit Mishra can conjure a few demons out of what looks to be a pretty slow track at Eden Gardens.
JP Duminy’s crew will take every bit of help they can get as they look to keep their IPL playoff hopes alive.
Although much improved from a deplorable 2014 season in which they finished bottom with just four points, Daredevils remain wedged in the lower half following back-to-back defeats against Rajasthan Royals and Mumbai Indians.
But with four games remaining in the league phase and only a couple of points to make up on fourth position, the capital franchise will be right in the mix for the IPL knockout rounds if they can do the job in Kolkata.
And while Delhi were well beaten by Mumbai in their last fixture, there was one big plus in the form of Yuvraj Singh.
Having struggled for runs since his big-money move to the capital, Yuvraj was the shining light with 57 from 44 balls in what was otherwise a rather ordinary day for the Delhi batting order.
Head coach Gary Kirsten will want more of the same from his marquee man as the Daredevils look to reverse the outcome of their last meeting with KKR – a six-wicket defeat on home turf at the Feroz Shah Kotla.
Possible team selections
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (C), Robin Uthappa, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Andre Russell, Johan Botha, Suryakumar Yadav, Pat Cummins, Brad Hogg, Piyush Chawla, Umesh Yadav
Delhi Daredevils: JP Duminy (C), Mayank Agarwal, Shreyas Iyer, Yuvraj Singh, Angelo Mathews, Kedar Jadhav, Saurabh Tiwary, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan, Imran Tahir
Result – Delhi Daredevils ($2.34 at CrownBet.com)
Highest first six overs – Delhi Daredevils ($2.02 at CrownBet)
Most match sixes – Delhi Daredevils ($2.15 at Bet365.com)
KKR’s erratic form makes them one of the most difficult IPL teams to back this season. The spinners will surely play a key role on the notoriously turny Kolkata wicket, so it might come down to whether you think Hogg or Tahir will do the most damage. The match batting markets aren’t easy to pick, either, as the top three of Duminy, Iyer and Agarwal rank among Delhi’s better performers in 2015.
Factor in Knight Riders’ apparent inability to put two wins together, and you wouldn’t be a total fool for backing Daredevils to get up here. And when you consider Delhi have cleared the fence 18 times more than KKR this season, they look a good value bet for most match sixes as well.
Top team batsman value bets
KKR – Andre Russell ($9.00 at Bet365.com)
He might have failed last time out, but the West Indian is a real game-changer for Kolkata. He sits third in the team’s scoring charts with a very healthy strike rate of 194.1, and recent outings show that Gambhir isn’t afraid to throw him up the order. We reckon $9 odds offer great value for a guy who has passed 40 in four of his seven innings in IPL 2015.
Daredevils – Shreyas Iyer ($4.33 at Bet365)
JP may be the go-to guy, but as often as not his partner in crime has been Delhi’s 20-year-old opener. With 17 sixes from his 10 innings, only Brendon McCullum (18) has cleared the boundary rope more often than Iyer this season. We like him at slightly better odds than Duminy ($3.75).
Best IPL odds for top team bowler
KKR – Brad Hogg ($4.00 at Bet365)
The elder statesman of the Kolkata squad has gone from bench-warmer to indispensable asset in the space of two weeks. In the entire Indian Premier League, only Mitchell Starc of Royal Challengers Bangalore has a better strike rate than Hogg’s 10.5 balls per wicket. The West Australian has been very economical, too, so he should be a real handful at Eden Gardens.
Daredevils – Imran Tahir ($4.00 at Bet365.com)
After a blistering start to the season, Tahir has gone wicketless in his last three appearances. The Kolkata conditions will suit him to a tee, however, so there can be no excuses on Thursday night. If you fancy taking on some longer odds, part-timer Duminy ($6.50) is a proven partnership breaker with eight wickets from just 14 overs this season.
More 2015 IPL Twenty20 games this week
Friday, May 8
Chennai Super Kings ($1.55) vs Mumbai Indians ($2.46)
Odds provided by www.CrownBet.com
Saturday, May 9
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab
Delhi Daredevils vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunday, May 10
Mumbai Indians vs Royal Challengers Bangalore
Chennai Super Kings vs Rajasthan Royals