Coming off defeats in their opening games, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will lock horns at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi in the Indian Premier League (IPL) on Saturday.
Despite the 49-run loss to Mumbai Indians, skipper Dinesh Karthik stressed that he didn’t want to get too analytical. KKR’s key foreign players – Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell and Pat Cummins – struggled against Mumbai. Having finished their mandatory quarantine periods closer to the contest, they did not have enough time at the nets.
In the build-up to the tournament opener, coach Brendon McCullum had indicated the think-tank has settled on a team balance for the first few matches of the tournament so KKR may not ring in big changes.
The Knights will need to find the right balance to their batting order and not leave too many for Russell to make up for in the end. Karthik, one of the best finishers around, came in at No. 3 but struggled to accelerate.
Being a supporting act to Sunil Narine, the form of Kuldeep Yadav will be a concern.
Hyderabad looked on course for a win against Royal Challengers Bangalore before its middle order and lower order surrendered in dramatic fashion. Apart from skipper David Warner, Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey, none inspired confidence.
David Warner had missed the 2019 edition of the IPL due to the Cricket Australia sanctions. – K. V. S. Giri
The loss of Mitchell Marsh to injury allows SRH to bring in all-rounder Mohammed Nabi, who could provide another option in the spin bowling department.
The addition of Kane Williamson, who missed the opening game due to a quadriceps injury, will bolster the batting department. Since he was involved in an intra-squad practice game, he is likely to get the nod ahead of Nabi on Saturday.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (Captain & Wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton (Wicketkeeper), Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik (Wicketkeeper), Ali Khan.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (Captain), Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper), Kane Williamson, Bhuvneshwar Kumar,Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mitchell Marsh, Fabian Allen, Vijay Shankar, Sanjay Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (Wicketkeeper), Shreevats Goswami (Wicketkeeper), Bavanaka Sandeep, Basil Thampi, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma.
Game No. 8: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
Date: September 26, Saturday.
Time: 7:30 PM IST.