Abu Dhabi, Sep 25 (IANS/GloFans) It’s a game between two currently bottom-placed teams. Twice champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will face 2016 winners SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) here on Saturday. So far, both have played one match each and lost.
After a dismal show against defending champions Mumbai Indians in their campaign opener, KKR will face the David Warner-led SRH, who went down to Royal Challengers Bangalore in their tournament opener. Both teams will now be craving for a win to gain confidence.
With the likes of Andre Russell and Eoin Morgan in their middle-order, KKR have the capability to overhaul any given target. However, the duo failed to capitalise against Mumbai and the Dinesh Karthik-led KKR ended up on the losing side.
Despite the losses, both the sides are well aware of each other’s strengths and will surely not take the contest lightly.
Against Mumbai, explosive Caribbean batter Sunil Narine opened the innings with Shubhman Gill but the pair disappointed after falling cheaply and the KKR team management might make a change in their opening combination. Similarly, Nikhil Naik is likely to be axed from the playing XI as the 25-year-old could only contribute a single run against MI.
The middle-order featuring Karthik, Nitish Rana, Russell, and Morgan will need to step up. If any of them gets going, things would pretty much become easier for KKR.
The KKR bowlers too need to raise the bar. Pat Cummins was snapped by the franchise for a whopping Rs.15.5 crore for this edition. However, the Aussie quick failed to prove his worth after being hammered for 49 runs from his three overs.
The 27-year-old, however, was handy with the bat with a 12-ball 33-run cameo and demonstrated that he was capable of rescuing his team while batting down the order. Cummins, however, first needs to perform with the ball and he will definitely try to silence his critics.
If KKR want to make a comeback, the pace duo should receive support from their spinners Narine and Kuldeep Yadav.
On the other hand, SRH’s middle-order instability was exposed in their opening match against RCB. Opener David Warner, too, had a flop show with the willow and it was his partner Jonny Bairstow, who showed resistance in the middle with his 43-ball 61.
However, after the England batsman departed, the entire SRH team fell like a pack of cards, barring Manish Pandey, who chipped in with valuable 34 but failed to take his team to victory.
Also, Vijay Shankar and Priyam Garg disappointed after a poor show in the middle-order and along with the SRH team management, Warner would equally be concerned about it.
SRH will miss the services of all-rounder Mitchell Marsh as 28-year-old has been ruled out of the remaining part of the tournament after injuring his ankle during the game against RCB. He has been replaced by Jason Holder who would most probably get a chance in the playing XI.
While the experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar was economical, Sandeep Sharma and T. Natarajan were not up to the mark after conceding 36 and 34 runs respectively.
Significantly, Rashid Khan was not at his best as the Afghanistan spinner remained wicketless and conceded 31 runs from his allotted quota of four overs.
KKR: Dinesh Karthik (Captain), Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrier, Ali Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Siddhesh Lad, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Tom Banton, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, M. Siddhartha, Nikhil Naik
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (Captain), Abhishek Sharma, Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake, Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Mitchell Marsh, Sandeep Bavanaka, Fabian Allen, Abdul Samad, Sanjay Yadav, Chris Green