Despite being touted as the strongest side on paper, the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have endured a disappointing first half. The team boasted an explosive batting lineup and a formidable bowling attack that covered all bases, leaving talented players like Akeal Hossein, Kartik Tyagi and Glenn Philips on the bench due to the abundance of options. However, the much-hyped Harry Brook failed to live up to expectations, has managed just 63 runs apart from that 100 at Eden and Abhishek Sharma missing games didn’t help either. Adding to their woes, Mayank Agarwal has been a consistent disappointment, averaging a paltry 18 after playing over 90 innings, if we exclude the 2021 and 2022 seasons. The team's struggles suggest that paper strengths alone are not enough to guarantee success in the fiercely competitive world of IPL.
They have been tactically poor as well. For eg, against Lucknow by promoting Sundar ahead of Klassen and not naming Akeal Hossein in the subs. It was a tailor made pitch for the one of the best finger spinners in the world.
It would be intriguing to witness the forthcoming changes in the 11. Just as Sundar seemed to regain his form, he unfortunately suffered a hamstring injury and had to withdraw from the tournament. The team management have done the right thing by replacing Jansen so that Akeal finds a spot in the 11. Additionally, it seems that Phillips, who was among the top batters in the T20 World Cup and has an impressive T20I strike rate of 144, is too valuable to be left on the bench. Consequently, replacing the struggling Brooks with Phillips could be the ideal decision, given that the latter excels in playing spin.
On the other hand, Despite having a lackluster team on paper and grappling with injuries, the Kolkata Knight Riders have managed to defy all odds and make a stunning comeback in the Indian Premier League. After a disappointing start to the tournament with a loss in the opening match, KKR seemed to have lost their way. However, in the last two games, they have showcased remarkable resilience and grit, pulling off unexpected victories. One such instance was the miraculous chase engineered by Rinku Singh, who hammered five sixes in five balls in the last over, a feat that has never been achieved before in the history of IPL. Following their early successes, KKR seemed to have lost their momentum, and in retrospect, they may have made a significant error by not utilizing Jason Roy in the 11 earlier. Additionally, the performances of their two most important players, Narine and Russell, have been underwhelming. Narine's economy rate of 8.81, his highest in any season, and his tally of only seven wickets are concerning. Russell's form has been erratic, and he has been receiving limited opportunities to settle into his innings. The timing of his entry to the crease has also been puzzling.
Probable Playing XIs
Mayank Agarwal, Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Harry Brook, Heinrich Klassen, Abdul Samad, Akeal Hossein, Mayank Markande, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik, T Natarajan ( sub )
Kolkata Knight Riders
Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy, Suyash Sharma
Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Hyderabad
-Average Total batting 1st: 158.4
-Average 1st innings winning total: 169.8
-Highest total: 231/2 - SRH v RCB, 2019
-Lowest total: 80/10 - DC v SRH, 2013
-Total Match Played: 68
-Batting First Won: 30
-Batting Second Won: 38
Head to Head
Overall: KKR leads by 15-9
Batting 1st: KKR leads by 7-5
Batting 2nd: KKR leads by 8-4
Last 5 Matches: KKR leads by 3-2
Most runs: David Warner - 619
Most wkts: Bhuvaneshwar Kumar - 23
Match Ups (IPL)
Russell v Bhuvi: 72 off 34, 2 out
Rana v Natarajan: 69 off 38, 3 outs
Rana v Bhuvi: 40 off 36, 2 outs
Russell v Umran: 9 off 11
Tripathi v Narine: 71 off 48
Tripathi v Russell: 24 off 17, 3 outs
Mayank v Narine: 40 off 32, 2 outs
Markram v Varun: 54 off 28, 1 out
Samad v Varun: 26 off 12
Form Update ( last 5 innings )
Key Players and Fantasy Picks
Since the start of 2021 season, 14 batters have scored 800 or more runs. Tripathi had the best SR among Indian batters. He has scored around 1000 at SR of 140 but his performance has dipped this year and now that record belongs to Sanju Samson but he has a spectacular record against every KKR bowler as pointed out under the match ups section.
He led the Sunrisers team to victory in SA 20 as captain. During the last few months, he had been in exceptional form with 100s in all three formats and a SR of 150 for his national team. Additionally, he is an adept off-spinner. He scored 381 runs for the Sunrisers last year at 140 runs per over in 12 innings. But this year he has looked a pale shadow of himself and is yet to fire.
There are no two ways about it; he has been SRH’s best batter this season with 153 runs from 5 innings at a SR in excess of 170. He plays spin exceptionally well and is SRH’s best bet to counter KKR’s spin trio of Varun, Suyash and Narine in the middle overs.
With Gurbaz among runs, KKR should unleash Roy and Gurbaz at top. The latter was unfortunate to miss out in the last game. He has played 3 games so far and made an immediate effect so far with 43(39) against Delhi, 61(26) v CSK and 56(29) v RCB
Nitish Rana / Venkatesh Iyer
KKR’s top order has been a mess and they have tried 6 opening pairs, In addition to that Venaktesh Iyer has displayed blow hot blow cold form with just 2 good innings. An 80 odd against GT and a 100 against MI. The Skipper has 3 good outings so far with a notable SR of 152.