No IPL team has won more contests against the Sunrisers Hyderabad than the Kolkata side, and the Knightriders will be looking to continue their good form against Warner’s men when they play them today at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad. Both teams are coming off convincing victories – KKR defeated Delhi Daredevils by 7 wickets on Friday, with skipper Gambhir top scoring with a 71 off 52 balls, and SRH thrashing Kings XI Punjab the same day by 26 runs. With this, KKR are placed at the top of the points tally, having amassed 7 wins in 9 matches, with a net run rate of +1.223, while SRH have five victories off 9 matches, beating Pune on net run rate(they have an NRR of +0.588 while RPS are struggling with an NRR of -0.240).
Both teams have a hit upon the winning batting and bowling combination. For KKR, it is the skipper Gautam Gambhir at the top of the order who provides the much needed stability. But it isn’t just him – Robin Uthappa has scored four half centuries and a total of 331 runs in this IPL. With a few technical changes in his batting, the Karnataka batsman seems to be enjoying his game and has complemented Gambhir greatly. Another revelation has been Sunil Narine, employed as a pinch hitter opener, besides as a useful off spin bowler in the death overs. Speaking of which, KKR’s bowling has been formidable, with Nathan Coulter-Nile and Umesh Yadav in the fast bowling forefront and young chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav finding form.
SRH, however, have in Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the rightful owner of the Purple Cap. He, along with young leg-spinner Rashid Khan, have been quite the test for most batting line-ups and the Hyderabad coaches would be hoping that Khan can repeat of when he bowled Gambhir in the first leg of the group match at the Eden Gardens.
The batting, with Kane Williamson back and David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan in excellent form promises much, so this should be quite a contest. This is a test for both sides in that it will be a good indicator of where the two teams are headed once they qualify for the Playoffs, which they most probably will.
30 April 2017, 2000 Hrs IST
Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium, Hyderabad
Head to Head
Overall: Matches played – 10, Sunrisers Hyderabad Won – 3, Kolkata Knight Riders Won – 7
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Yuvraj Singh, Ashish Nehra, Naman Ojha (wicketkeeper), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Tanmay Agarwal, Ricky Bhui, Bipul Sharma, Ben Cutting, Eklavya Dwivedi, Moises Henriques, Deepak Hooda, Chris Jordan, Siddharth Kaul, Ben Laughlin, Abhimanyu Mithun, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammed Siraj, Mustafizur Rahman, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Barinder Sran, Pravin Tambe.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Darren Bravo, Yusuf Pathan, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper), Umesh Yadav, Suryakumar Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla, Nathan Coulter Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, Shaikb Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Ishank Jaggi, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Woakes, Chris Lynn, Manish Pandey
- Hyderabad have relied heavily on their openers Warner and Dhawan, and it will be critical for the rest of the line up to step up. Eyes will be on India batsman Yuvraj Singh, who has not been in the best of form but can still turn things around on his day.
- The battle will be between spinner Rashid Khan and Gautam Gambhir. Gambhir is one of the world’s finest players of spin, and will be looking to dominate the Afghan teen who has done extraordinarily well in the tournament.
- Sunrisers Hyderabad have a 100% record at home this season; they’ve won all the four matches they’ve played at the RGICS this season.