It is a battle between the two-time champions on Sunday. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will battle with Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the second match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2019, at Eden Gardens, Kolkata.
Anrich Nortje has been ruled out of the tournament due to shoulder injury. Harry Gurney, a southpaw T20 specialist bowler, will get a spot.
Probable XI for KKR: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Harry Gurney
SRH released Shikhar Dhawan and hence Bairstow is likely to open with Warner. Meanwhile, Williamson is recovering from a shoulder injury and his availability will only be known during the toss.
Probable XI for SRH: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddharth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed
We have opted for a fantasy cricket team on the basis of players’ impact, recent performances, and credit points.
My XI: Dinesh Karthik (wk), Kane Williamson, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narayan (c), Andre Russell, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav, Rashid Khan (vc), Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Warrier
Eden Gardens can trick you. One day it lets you collect as many runs; on another day, it traps you in spin and hitting out of the park becomes a tough task. There is a reason KKR often play with three spinners at home.
KKR continue to sport a balanced team
After Gautam Gambhir pushed Narine at the top, all franchises have been pursuing the same approach. When he bats, he looks like a specialist batter. We need not shed light on his bowling. Lynn partners him, followed by Uthappa at No. 3. The trio had the best strike rate in the previous IPL.
KKR’s batting gets better. Gill and Rana, the young force, have all the ingredients to excel across format. With Karthik around, the other batters can play with freedom. Karthik remained unbeaten in KKR’s six successful chases last year. Add Russell to the mix. He may not be as threatening with the ball as he once was, but can send the ball into the orbit with his hard-hitting skills.
As mentioned before, the pitch in Kolkata gets slow and low, and this is where the spin trio of Narayan, Kuldeep, and Chawla come into the picture. They took 52 wickets between them last season.
Warrier shot to fame with his hat-trick in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy. Gurney will accompany him in the pace department. Both have an array of variations in their bowling armoury.
SRH boast of a quality bowling attack
Although Warner is back, SRH’s success largely looms around his form. With Dhawan traded with Delhi Capitals, SRH’s new opening duo will have to work hard for runs. It is the foundation that their openers provided gave them success in the past. There are no questions over Bairstow’s form and Williamson’s skills.
Shankar adds more stability in the middle-order. We witnessed the same when he played for India. Whether Williamson will use his bowling services, is something we will know as the tournament progresses. Manish Pandey can float around like he did for KKR, and having played for KKR previously, he knows the nook and cranny of the Eden Gardens as well as the dynamics of the opposition.
Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Nabi may have to wait for their chances in order to maintain the balance, as they already have a five-bowler strategy in place with Shankar around for contingency plans.
Rashid and Bhuvi not only put a lid on the runs but also take wickets at regular intervals. Kaul and Khaleel have time again proved their mettle, while the addition of Nadeem has added more variety and flexibility to their bowling. To make things more interesting, they have the services of Yusuf Pathan at their disposal. He has a century off 37 balls in the IPL and can roll his arm over when needed.