Two of the world's best fast bowlers have had contrasting introductions to the 2022 Indian Premier League (IPL) over the last week.
Pat Cummins waltzed into the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) playing XI and hammered the joint-fastest IPL fifty while also scalping a couple of wickets. Anrich Nortje, on the other hand, chucked two head-high full-tosses and was taken out of the attack in a practically match-losing and highly expensive spell for the Delhi Capitals (DC).
Cummins and Nortje will be on opposite sides in Match 19 of IPL 2022, which sees KKR and DC lock horns at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday, April 10. The high-octane clash also witnesses KKR captain Shreyas Iyer going up against his former franchise, currently led by Rishabh Pant.
Shreyas has been the happier captain in IPL 2022 thus far, as KKR have eased to three wins from four games. With a net run rate of 1.102, the two-time champions are at the top of the points table. Meanwhile, DC have one win from three games and find themselves in seventh place.
IPL 2022 Match Prediction: KKR vs DC
Despite clear shortcomings in the batting department, KKR have managed to punch above their weight in IPL 2022. Venkatesh Iyer overcame a miserable run of form to anchor KKR's successful run-chase against the Mumbai Indians, but Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas are yet to deliver this year. The lineup has been overly reliant on the spin-countering ability of Sam Billings and the big-hitting of Andre Russell, two factors DC will be keen to take out of the equation on Sunday.
DC's batting unit hasn't worn a settled look either. Prithvi Shaw was the only batter to find any momentum in the previous game as David Warner's return to the franchise went poorly. Rovman Powell was bizarrely promoted to No. 3, but he had no answers to the guile of Ravi Bishnoi. The big West Indian's task will only get more difficult against Varun Chakravarthy and Sunil Narine, but it would be a massive surprise if he walks out to bat at the fall of the first wicket.
Powell isn't the only DC middle-order batter who needs to step up. Pant himself hasn't quite found his bearings yet, while Sarfaraz Khan's first outing in IPL 2022 didn't see him accelerate sufficiently at the death. Lalit Yadav and Axar Patel have contributed some handy lower-order runs, but Mitchell Marsh's absence is clearly felt in the DC lineup.
Do DC have a strike bowler in their ranks to target Andre Russell and dismiss him cheaply? Do they possess the new-ball threat to shackle Venkatesh and Rahane in the powerplay? More importantly, do they have the batters to stave off the Narine-Varun spin threat?
DC are arguably too dependent on Shaw, who once plundered KKR for six fours in the first over. But in the absence of a fast start, DC's middle order might not be able to control the middle overs enough to beat KKR. And although the Knight Riders have a few batting holes that won't be easy to fix in the immediate future, they start as the favorites against the Capitals.
Prediction: KKR to win Match 19 of IPL 2022
Q. Which captain will end up on the winning side in Match 19 of IPL 2022?
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