A struggling Kolkata Knight Riders will hope to get its campaign back on track when it takes on Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 encounter in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
Kolkata’s last two matches resulted in two crushing defeats. Eoin Morgan’s men will be left facing a steep climb into the playoffs if it fails to iron out the flaws. The form of Caribbean all-rounder Andre Russell has been a major concern for them. He has struggled to score runs and his bowling, though economical in patches, has been lightweight.
What’s further ailing the Kolkata side is the lack of wickets for its most expensive signing, Pat Cummins. The Australian pace spearhead has two wickets from eight matches. However, Varun Chakravarthy’s miserly bowling in the middle overs has been one of the few positives. So far, the Tamil Nadu spinner has held his own, conceding 7.21 runs an over in the seven games he has played. It will be interesting to see if KKR decides to include Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav – who has played only three matches – in the playing XI.
The leadership change at the halfway stage, with Dinesh Karthik handing over captaincy to Morgan, also puts the team dynamics in flux. The franchise made the announcement hours before its match against defending champion Mumbai Indians, which it eventually lost by eight wickets. While Karthik has struggled for consistency in the first eight matches this season – save that 58 against Kings XI Punjab – Morgan too is yet to set the stage alight with the bat, his 18-ball 44 against Delhi Capitals being the only highlight. Kolkata will hope the duo find its touch as the business end approaches.
If KKR hasn’t fired on all cylinders, then Hyderabad’s run has been topsy-turvy. It has won three out of eight but its challenge lies in scoring a little more quickly at the start. Its openers Jonny Bairstow and captain David Warner have found form while Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson have put their hands up in the middle-overs. That said, Warner is striking at 121.88 and Bairstow, 129.03. A little urgency will help inflate the total and give the bowlers a bit more cushion.
The key men
Russell has blown hot-and-cold this season while Cummins has proved expensive. Possibly, the Knight Riders will be better served with these two coming good simultaneously.
Andre Russell. – BCCI/IPL
With the surfaces slowing down, the Sunrisers will once again be buoyed by the control and zip that leg-spinner Rashid Khan brings. The bowling looks in good shape, despite losing Bhuvneshwar Kumar to injury. T Natarajan has stood out with his ability to bowl yorkers at the death.
Rashid Khan. – BCCI/IPLT20
Sunrisers Hyderabad Squad:
Kane Williamson, David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Virat Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Basil Thampi, Abhishek Sharma, Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Mitchell Marsh, Bavanaka Sandeep, Fabian Allen, Abdul Samad, Sanjay Yadav, Rashid Khan
Kolkata Knight Riders Squad:
Eoin Morgan (c ), Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Kuldeep Yadav, Dinesh Karthik (wk), Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine, Nikhil Naik, Manimaran Siddharth, Andre Russell, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Siddhesh Lad, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Rinku Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton, Chris Green, Rahul Tripathi
Match: SRH vs KKR
Date: Sunday, October 18, 2020
Time: 3:30 PM
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi