Erratic sides eye much-needed win
October 17 2020
KKR won their previous encounter against SRH this season.
Firing in unison is extremely important for any batting unit to flourish. Sunrisers Hyderabad know this better than most teams. In games where Jonny Bairstow and David Warner fired in unison last season, more often than not, they ended up winning. Their only win now in their last four games also saw the pair firing together. In the other three losses, only one batsman in the top-4 managed to cross the 50-run mark. And now with five losses already in eight games, it's vital SRH get this right. Their bowling has delivered more often than not with Rashid Khan regaining his wicket-taking form but at least two batsmen from the top four will have to contribute in order to give their side the best possible chance of fetching two points.
Perhaps, a match up against the worst bowling side since last year's IPL is exactly what SRH need right now to get some confidence back. Kolkata Knight Riders have taken the fewest wickets amongst all eight teams since IPL 2019 and have the highest runs per wickets ratio as well. Pat Cummins, the team's leading bowler hasn't been able to deliver, picking up only two wickets in eight games. Kuldeep Yadav has once again lost his spot in the XI and the ghosts from the past are haunting Sunil Narine again. KKR have in fact resorted to relying only on Andre Russell for success at the death and quite surprisingly, the big allrounder hasn't delivered with the bat this season yet.
Shubman Gill showed promise early in the season but has not been consistent enough at the top of the order. Rahul Tripathi's batting position has been meddled with and new skipper Eoin Morgan hasn't been at his best either. Dinesh Karthik has only one fifty to show far and has been batting in multiple positions this year whereas Nitish Rana's poor run has largely gone unnoticed with the attention on the misfiring senior stars.
In spite of all that, KKR are in a slightly better position than SRH, having won one extra game. Also, they did come out on top when these two sides met earlier in the season. Perhaps, Cummins and Gill can take some inspiration out of that encounter. Both these sides need a win badly having lost their last two games. SRH had at least one of those games under their control for a very long period but KKR on the other hand have lost by massive margins. The one who loses on Sunday will certainly have a long road ahead of them in the race for a playoff spot.
When: Sunday, October 18 at 15:30 IST
Where: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
What to expect: It's going to be quite a tricky decision to make at the toss for both the captains. Abu Dhabi is one venue where teams chasing have started winning again reversing the prevailing trend in IPL 2020. But it is a day game and that might prompt teams to bat first irrespective of the recent results.
If SRH contemplate a change, it can only be at number 6 where Priyam Garg hasn't been amongst the runs after impressing early in the tournament against CSK. Abhishek Sharma will fancy his chances of returning to the XI in case young Virat Singh doesn't get to make his debut.
Probable XI: David Warner (C), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma/Virat Singh, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan
Kolkata Knight Riders
Nitish Rana has scored only 155 runs this season but KKR might want to give him a longer rope. Perhaps, it wouldn't be a bad idea to add Lockie Ferguson to the pace attack with Cummins & Co. struggling for wickets especially with a cloud hanging over Sunil Narine's availability.
Probable XI: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (C), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Lockie Ferguson/Chris Green, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna
Did you know?
- Pat Cummins has gone wicketless in six games this season
- David Warner is the second highest run-getter against KKR after Rohit Sharma
- KKR have the lowest run rate amongst all teams in the powerplay this season