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Cricket news - Delhi seek quick acclimatisation to 'different' Kotla

This match marks the beginning of a lengthy stretch of away games for KKR

Delhi Capitals have run into a bit of an uncharted territory. A lot of things didn't go their way in IPL 2018, but the one positive constant was the conduciveness of the Feroz Shah Kotla pitch for their big-hitters. Delhi won games on the basis of their performances in the backend of the innings, scoring upwards of 54 in the last five overs while batting first in a full-length game.

When Chennai Super Kings strangled them a few nights ago for just 29 runs in the last 30 balls, their fixation to bat first in a tournament historically in favour of the chasing was brought in to question. But, Ricky Ponting reckoned his team needed to take the three days break after the first home fixture to wrap their heads around a different looking Kotla - where the ball would stop on the wicket and trouble the biffers down the order.

Now they know what to expect, there's a chance they'd do better than going from 118 in 15 overs to 147 in 20. Chris Morris's return and availability should go a long way in ensuring that, that was a mere aberration.

Morris brings Andre Russell-like qualities to DC's lower middle-order, even if he himself believes there's no point to draw comparisons between himself and the 'unbelievably good' West Indian. Even if Morris isn't as devastating with the bat as Russell, DC will hope he could be the first bowler of IPL 2019 to curb the big-hitter from taking the game away in a flash at the death.

Though Ponting chose not to be critical of his bowling pack after Chennai Super Kings took 19.4 overs to complete a fairly small chase, there's a chance KKR will not afford the hosts such luxury. Ponting went as far as to say that the way Dhoni batted was crucial in bringing his team back into the reckoning, which none of the KKR top-order will be generous enough to do.

For KKR, this game marks the start of a lengthy period on the road, comprising four away fixtures. The table-toppers, who already have half the number of home wins they managed in the entirety of the previous season where they finished third, can steal an early march in the race to the playoffs if they can pocket at least half of the eight points on offer before they return to Eden Gardens.

The two-time champions have made a dream start as far as their batting is concerned, the top-order setting it up nicely for Russell to power away in the both the matches so far. They've both led to wins but without the bowling unit really impressing yet. Against a top-heavy DC on a reasonably small ground, there comes an opportunity to tick that aspect off.

When: Delhi Capitals vs Kolkata Knight Riders, March 30, 2019, 08:00 PM IST

Where: Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium, New Delhi

What to expect: Another sluggish pitch where about 170 while batting first could be gold. After an ordinary start to this season, Shreyas Iyer will hope he can channel his 2018 self when he smashed a 40-ball 93 in a high-scoring home win against KKR last year.

Team News:

Delhi Capitals

The home side's first-choice big-hitting all-rounder Chris Morris is available and should walk into the side at the expense of Keemo Paul. DC have a fourth slot available for another foreign pick, which they decided against using in the previous fixture. If they change their mind for the next game, they can use it to either bring back Trent Boult for one of the leg spinners (Amit Mishra and Rahul Tewatia) or even give Sandeep Lamichhane - another leggie - a go.

Probable XI: Prithvi Shaw, Shikhar Dhawan, Shreyas Iyer (c), Colin Ingram, Rishabh Pant (wk), Chris Morris, Axar Patel, Rahul Tewatia, Amit Mishra/Sandeep Lamichhane/Trent Boult, Kagiso Rabada, Ishant Sharma

Kolkata Knight Riders

The table-toppers have no reason to chop and change after two very good wins.

Probable XI: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa (wk), Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (c), Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna

Did you know?

- KKR have won 7 of the last 9 encounters against Delhi [Daredevils then, Capitals now]

- Sandeep Lamichhane has an economy rate under 7 in each of the lsat four leagues he's been a part of.

- Delhi Capitals scored at a run-rate of 5.80 against CSK, a stark contrast to the death scoring rate of 16.40 they achieved against MI.

What they said:

"I don't want to compare myself to Dre Russ [Andre Russell] because he's unbelievably good. I think we've got similar roles. He bats a little higher than me in the batting order, so there might be a little bit more responsibility on his head. But we're both been picked to do the same thing - bowl fast and hit sixes. Like I said, similar but not the same." - Chris Morris

"I think the importance of away wins is extremely critical in a tournament like this. I think that since we've got four away games on bounce, to get a good start on the first one is very important to keep that momentum going. At home we're very strong, we know that as individuals and as a team, we all understand that. I think understanding the fact that creating momentum when you're playing away from home is also important." - Robin Uthappa

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