Kolkata: Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders would want to forget their shocking loss against Chennai Super Kings in the last game when they will face one of the most balanced sides of this year’s Indian Premier League, Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.
SRH was victorious in the game of nerves when they beat Mumbai Indians with just one wicket last night and they are leading the points table ahead of CSK on the basis of better run rate.
On the other hand, KKR has faced a heartbreaking loss against Chennai Super Kings despite of scoring more than 200 runs in the first innings.
Though, the SRH brigade has won two back to back matches, but they were very much shaky while chasing a modest total set by Mumbai Indians.
On a day when the bowlers lived up to their reputation by restricting MI to 147-8, SRH’s experienced batsmen almost threw the match away as eventually it was the last wicket pair of Deepak Hooda and No 11 Billy Stanlake who scrambled home.
At 56 for no loss after Powerplay, SRH were cruising home but the likes of Wriddhiman Saha, Kane Williamson, Shikhar Dhawan and Manish Pandey who form the fulcrum of their batting got out in 27 runs to make the chase look so hard.
Leading 8-4 on head-to-head count, KKR will fancy chances against a team who had lost by 17 runs the last time they clashed at Eden Gardens in the last edition.
That batting collapse will give KKR some ray of hope as they will look to use their bowling resources well this time.
Having failed to defend a tall 203, courtesy some tactical blunders and R Vinay Kumar’s profligacy at the death, KKR would look to tighten their bowling attack and veteran pacer Mitchell Johnson is all set to return as indicated by bowling coach Heath Streak yesterday.
It also remains to be seen whether they run out of patience with Vinay Kumar who failed to defend 17 runs in the last over against CSK and was later trolled on social media.
The Karnataka veteran seamer has been unimpressive in the two matches conceding 65 runs from 3.5 overs at an economy of 16.95.
Thankfully for KKR the batting has clicked big time in Chennai where Andre Russell led the charge with an unbeaten 88 from 36 balls.
It will also be an emotional moment for Yusuf Pathan, Shakib Al Hasan who were part of KKR’s success journey in winning two titles in 2012 and 2014 turning out from the opponent’s dressing room at the Eden.
There’s also Manish Pandey, a former KKR number three, and Bengal cricketer Wriddhiman Saha turning out for SRH this time and they will look to prove their worth in Orange colours.
The logo of SRH is on the left side and will be close to my heart. My focus will only be on how to win matches for my side and play some ruthless cricket, Pathan, who was an integral part of the Shah Rukh Khan’s franchise for seven years, has said summing up the mood.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (captain and WK), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi and Tom Curran.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Manish Pandey, Rashid Khan Arman, Shikhar Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (WK), Sandeep Sharma, Shakib Al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi Eisakhil, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Billy Stanlake, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Syed Khaleel Ahmed, Shreevats Goswami, Basil Thampi, T. Natarajan, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Ricky Bhui, Sachin Baby, Tanmay Agarwal.