KKR seek unity over one-man shows against well-rounded SRH
Expectations can be funny. One day you think no one expects a thing from you, and that’s a boon. Two matches and a miracle later, you start believing. For the Knight Riders, first it was a Shardul Thakur masterclass, feat. Rinku Singh and then a miracle feat. Rinku.
Most viewers would have assumed in the penultimate over that this was another W in the Titans’ kitty. And why not? The defending Champions in their own den, a hat-trick from Rashid, a golden duck for Russell, and perhaps the least fancied side on paper. And yet, KKR turned out arguably the greatest miracle in the tournament’s history.
And later that same day, in the hangover of The Great Miracle, the Sunrisers Hyderabad quietly got on the board and earned themselves their first win of the season. The Sunrisers Hyderabad have a terrific bowling unit and a batting line-up that hasn’t quite lived up to its potential, but Rahul Tripathi and Aiden Markram changed that, with a clinical chase against the Punjab Kings. On paper, it is arguably the most complete squad in the league. And with Harry Brook yet to get going in the league, there is certainly more to come. And perhaps the enhanced pace and carry of the new Eden Gardens is just the platform that Brook needs to get going in the IPL.
Both teams are coming off wins. Both have been buoyed with self-belief in the recent past. KKR need to figure out how to stay afloat without the one-man shows, and the Sunrisers need to continue performing to their potential, and fast — because negative momentum can cause a rather quick downfall.
When:April 14, 2023, 07:30 PM IST
Where: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
What to expect:The one game in Kolkata so far was all about RCB’s capitulation against spin. However, the surface is perhaps the best-suited one for pace in the country, particularly in the first half, and even the spinners have been known to hurry the batsmen. Expect a high-scoring encounter, barring a googly-collapse like last time.
Head-to-head:KKR dominate the head-to-head with 15 wins and 8 losses overall against the Sunrisers, and even more so at the Eden with 6 wins and just 2 losses! In fact SRH have won only one game at the Eden against KKR since 2020.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Kolkata Knight Riders have Liton Das and Jason Roy coming in to boost their batting line-up, and perhaps that will negate the need for rescue acts like Shardul and Rinku Singh. One of the two will definitely be preferred after three different openers were tried with Gurbaz at the top. In fact, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and N Jagadeesan, who opened the batting against GT on Sunday, were the ninth opening pair in 17 matches for KKR since IPL 2022.
Tactics and match-ups: Andre Russell has failed to fire in this tournament, and KKR desperately need him to do so. Perhaps this is his moment — since 2019, he averages 58 against KKR, scoring at a strike-rate of 181. In fact, his numbers against Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the leader of the bowling line-up, reads 63 off 31 balls, with a strike-rate north of 200 and just one dismissal. It’s time for Andre Russell to come to the party. The force of mathematics certainly favours him. Probable XI:Jason Roy, N Jagadeesan (w), Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (c), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy
Sunrisers Hyderabad Tactics and match-ups:The Sunrisers are likely to go in with the same XI, and persist with Harry Brook despite his run of low scores, especially with the faster surface in Kolkata. They’re also likely to sub in Abdul Samad for the finishing role. Rahul Tripathi averages 34.88 against the Sunrisers striking at 163, and over 46 against KKR at Eden Gardens striking at 175. Expect him to take over from where he left off in the last game. Mayank Agarwal, however, has struggled against spin since 2019, averaging 14.88 against leg-break, including 16 dismissals in 27 innings.
Probable XI:Mayank Agarwal, Harry Brook, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram (c), Heinrich Klaasen(w), Abdul Samad, Washington Sundar, Mayank Markande, Marco Jansen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik
Did you know?
– Rahul Tripathi has never been dismissed by Sunil Narine, and has a strike-rate of nearly 150 against him, scoring 71 off 48 balls
. – Aiden Markram has scored 40 runs in 20 balls against the hero of KKR’s bowling in the last game, Varun Chakravarthy