Gautam Gambhir knows the Kotla like the back of his hand. The second ground in India he knows the best is the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. He led KKR for seven seasons from 2011 to 2017. In the process he won two titles for the franchise and tonight he comes to play at the venue and to a city which has showered tremendous love on him.
There is just a slight change in the script, however. Gambhir will be representing Delhi Daredevils and he will be playing against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Both teams come into this match with different strategies and mentalities. While DD won their last game, KKR have lost their last two. KKR's previous game against SRH at home saw, Dinesh Karthik changing and chopping the batting order, while DD registered a comfortable victory against Mumbai Indians courtesy Jason Roy's brilliance.
This game thus becomes a must win game for KKR for reasons more than one. Delhi is languishing at seventh on the points table while KKR is at fifth.
For Delhi, their batters Jason Roy, Gautam Gambhir, Rishabh Pant and Glenn Maxwell hold they key while for Kolkata its a must that Karthik refrains from playing with the batting order.
As far as bowlers from both teams are concerned, Boult and Shami will start up front for DD, while Nadeem is expected to be their lone spinner. Amit Mishra might have to sit out again. Maxwell provides them with an extra spinning option in the middle overs.
For KKR, the formulae will be the same. They will be banking on their spinners, especially in a home match. With Kamlesh Nagarkoti ruled out for KKR now, its Mitchell Johnson and Shivam Mavi who should start for KKR. This means that Vinay Kumar and Tom Curran might just miss out again. Their batting which was out of shape the last time, needs to be organized and level-headed. They should ideally go with Narine and Lynn at the top with Uthappa, Karthik and Russell handling the middle order.
As far as weather and playing conditions are concerned, A maximum of 39 degrees can be expected in Kolkata on Monday, of course with a small chance of a brief spell of thundershowers in the afternoon. If Saturday's trend is anything to go by, it could make a belated appearance. However, as cricket fans, we would hope that the rain stays away from the contest.
Toss; Delhi Daredevils have won the toss and have opted to field
Delhi Daredevils : Jason Roy, Gautam Gambhir(c), Rishabh Pant(w), Glenn Maxwell, Shreyas Iyer, Vijay Shankar, Chris Morris, Rahul Tewatia, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammed Shami, Trent Boult
Kolkata Knight Riders : Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav