Kolkata Knight Riders haven’t got to the right start under the Morgan era, with the clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad, an opportunity for them to get back to their form. On the other hand, Sunrisers would want to bounce back from their trashing loss against CSK in the previous encounter.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - L L W L W
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s wins this season have been highly sporadic, after getting off to the worst start possible, with a loss against cross-state rivals Royal Challengers Bangalore. In between the two losses, they had the same recurring issues - a fragile middle-order and a battling bowling unit. While Rashid Khan and David Warner have expressed themselves with the ball and bat respectively, the rest of the bowling and batting unit have found it tough to face the challenge. Manish Pandey’s form too would be a worry for the Men in Orange while the bowling unit would need to put more efforts against Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.
Kolkata Knight Riders - L L W W L
Meanwhile, Kolkata Knight Riders too have faced a similar result in their last five games, with just two wins, matching SRH’s form guide in an evenly matched-up contest. However, for the Knight Riders, they are now led by the World Cup-winning skipper Eoin Morgan, who’s first game resulted in a loss against Mumbai Indians, where they couldn’t fix their batting woes. Before the SRH game, their focus would be on fixing the situation surrounding their terrible batting display and work more on their lacklustre bowling unit, which has struggled to get wickets in the absence of their mystery spinner Sunil Narine.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Manish Pandey
While the either of David Warner or Jonny Bairstow have given decent start to Sunrisers Hyderabad, both of them haven’t been able to put on a show together, which has prompted action from the other batsmen - including Manish Pandey. He was highly unlucky the other day when a brilliant piece of athleticism from Dwayne Bravo dismissed him early. However, against his former teammates, Pandey would be itching to get plenty of runs under his belt, which he hasn’t quite been able to this season. He’s just behind the two batsmen on the list of top run-scorer for the franchise this season, with 206 runs at an average of 25.75 and a strike-rate of 124. With KKR planning to bring back Kuldeep for the encounter, Pandey would be crucial to SRH’s chances.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Eoin Morgan
In simple words, the skipper has to lead the side from the front, in his second game. But more importantly, KKR’s top-order hasn’t quite lived up to its potential after having as many as three-opening pairs in the competition. While Sunil Narine’s technique was quickly found out, the move to pair Tripathi and Gill hasn’t quite yet lived up to expectations. The middle-order too hasn’t lit up the tournament, putting all sorts of pressure on the lower-middle-order, where Morgan currently plies his trade. In the eight games, the southpaw has scored 214 runs, at an average of 42.80 at a strike-rate of 130.48. Against SRH, he would be integral to bringing their campaign back on track.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Rashid Khan
Four overs - 0/30, is what Rashid Khan managed against the mighty Chennai Super Kings but it’s not just his fault, the Super Kings rather came out with intent against him. Prior to that, his form in the previous games were exemplary, with 10 wickets in the tournament, at an average of 17.10, with an economy rate of 5.34, the best amongst the top wicket-takers this season. While Bhuvneshwar Kumar has the best record for a Sunrisers bowler against KKR, Rashid isn’t far away, with eight wickets against the men in Purple and Gold. Expect him to bounce back from a lacklustre performance against CSK to put an incredible show against KKR, in just two days.
Kolkata Knight Riders - Andre Russell
Let’s put it this way - Andre Russell isn’t KKR’s best batsman but is their best bowler, surprised? This season, he might have scored 83 runs, at an average of 11.85 but his bowling has been exemplary, not getting the credit for what it’s due. With the ball, he’s KKR’s leading wicket-taker, with six wickets, tied alongside Shivam Mavi and Varun Chakravarthy. His average though is miles better off the two, at 24.33, making him the go-to-bowler for Morgan, who has used him earlier in the innings compared to Dinesh Karthik. Against SRH, the Englishman might very well open the bowling with Russell, who has bowled well against Warner and Bairstow.
KKR: Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik (wk), Andre Russell, Chris Green, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Prasidh Krishna
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
When to Watch: Oct 18, 3.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)