Deadline: April 11, 7:30 PM IST
The Chepauk pitch didn’t stay true to its reputation on Friday. Of the 17 wickets that fell, only 2 belonged to the spinners. Kolkata already have a proven performer in Varun Chakravarthy, who took 17 wickets and maintained an economy of 6.84 in the previous edition. However, they will have to brainstorm for the second spinner. Sunil Narine took a mere 5 wickets in 10 games, and to make matters worse for him, he won’t be opening the batting anymore. They have addressed the very concern by employing Shakib Al Hasan, who was a part of the title-winning team in 2012 and 2015.
Hyderabad wouldn’t fret over their spin department. They already have Rashid Khan at their disposal, and it doesn’t bother him when the pitch doesn’t provide turn. His strengths are accuracy and reading the batsmen’s footwork.
Kolkata: Shubman Gill, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Shakib Al Hasan/Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Prasidh Krishna, Varun Chakravarthy
Hyderabad: David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Vijay Shankar/Abhishek Sharma, Kedar Jadhav, Abdul Samad, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team based on recent performances, impact, and credit points.
Kolkata may have firepower in their batting, but they are vulnerable to sudden collapses. They wouldn’t want Eoin Morgan to change his game and Andre Russell knows only one brand of cricket. That leaves Dinesh Karthik whose primary job in the previous seasons was to finish the game. They are fortunate that Shubman Gill likes to stick around, but his strike rate can put pressure on the middle order.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, have a balanced batting unit. Jonny Bairstow will fire on all cylinders, while David Warner and Kane Williamson can change gears at any juncture. If things go their way in the powerplay, Manish Pandey and Vijay Shankar can continue the momentum in the middle overs.
Hyderabad have an edge in the pace department as well. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was exceptional in the recently concluded series between India and England. T Natarajan is equipped with a deadly yorker, and Sandeep Sharma has a reputation for picking wickets in the powerplay.
Kolkata neither have effective powerplay bowlers nor can they contain runs at the death. Pat Cummins and Prasidh Krishna will have to punch well above their weight to keep a leash on the Hyderabad batsmen. The onus thus will be on the spinners, Chakravarthy and Shakib, to control the damage.