New Delhi, April 26: Struck by the crisis emanating from Gautam Gambhir's resignation as captain, Delhi Daredevils (DD) face a Herculean task to revive their Indian Premier League (IPL) campaign when they clash with Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) here on Friday (April 27) under young skipper Shreyas Iyer.
Gambhir's rough patch, along with poor form of other batsmen, has resulted in over-reliance on young Rishabh Pant by DD. The team has lost five of its six matches and is languishing at the bottom of the points table.
Gambhir the batsman would still be critical if a turnaround has to happen for the DD but it remains to be seen if he remains in the playing XI.
The DD are now in an unenvious position where they need to win seven of the remaining eight matches to be in Play-offs contention.
The 23-year-old Iyer is faced with the enormous task of turning it around for DD as a leader.
The young batsman showed that he has the heart for a fight when he took it upon himself to steer the side against Kings XI Punjab.
He almost pulled it off but fell short by one big shot. However, it was a performance which indicated that he is not averse to taking responsibility, which is the need of the hour for the DD.
The DD have not been lucky on the fitness front either with Jason Roy (side strain) and Chris Morris (back problem) still recovering.
A big player not to have clicked for them is Australian all-rounder Glenn Maxwell.
Maxwell has scores of 17, 13, 47, 4 and 12 so far and it is absolutely imperative for DD that he regains his form.
On the other hand, KKR are also struggling a bit with their bowling. But what has worked reasonably well for them is their batting. Their willow-wielders have been contributing consistently, twice taking the side past the 200-mark but bowlers have struggled to defend even big totals.
KKR have won three matches and lost as many to sit fourth in the table.
The last time the two sides clashed, it was KKR which dominated by putting 200 runs on the board to win by a comprehensive 71-run margin at the Eden Gardens.
Its a spin-heavy attack for KKR with Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla doing the bulk of the job.
The slow conditions at the Feroze Shah Kotla are likely to suit this combination while the young Shivam Mavi and England's Tom Curran would spearhead the pace attack.
Andre Russell has done a fine all-round job for them and the West Indian continues to be a vital cog for them.
Squads: Delhi Daredevils: Shreyas Iyer (C), Chris Morris, Rishabh Pant, Glenn Maxwell, Gautam Gambhir, Jason Roy, Colin Munro, Mohammed Shami, Amit Mishra, Prithvi Shaw, Rahul Tewatia, Vijay Shankar, Harshal Patel, Avesh Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Daniel Christian, Jayant Yadav, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Trent Boult, Manjot Kalra, Abhishek Sharma, Sandeep Lamichhane, Naman Ojha, Sayan Ghosh and Liam Plunkett.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (C), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran and Prasidh Krishna.
Match Live on Star Sports from 8 pm.