Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad: Preview and Prediction￼
Kolkata Knight Riders gearing up for another action-packed encounter where they will face the challenge of Sunrisers Hyderabad in match no. 62 of the Indian Premier League Season 15. Pune’s scenic venue Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium will be hosting this battle of survival between these two combatants on Saturday.
Whether the debate is on IPL or Biryani, the fans of the two regions are always keen to prove themselves superior. Hence the traditional rivalry has been established between Sunrisers and the Bengal-based franchise and new chapters are written every season.
The opening pair of Venkatesh Iyer and Ajinkya Rahane was removed from the KKR lineup quite a while ago and eventually returned to the action against Mumbai with a bang. Although the flop show of middle-order is still a worrying issue for Captain Iyer and the gaffer Brendon McCullum as the weak link has been exploited a lot this season. In the previous game, no Kolkata middle-order batsman except Rinku Singh could score the double-figure runs while 67% of the team total was contributed by the top three batters only.
We may get to see Marco Jansen back in action for the Orange Army as the South African towering speedster is warming the bench from two games. Jansen is likely to take the place of Fazalhaq Farooqi who had a forgettable debut against RCB where he remained wicketless and also gave away 47 runs in four overs. The Karnataka-based spin all-rounder Jagadeesh Suchith made a grand comeback into the playing eleven and trapped Virat Kohli in the very first ball of the game.
What have they done so far?
Kolkata might have saved themselves from the elimination after their recent triumph over Mumbai Indians although their chances to advance through the next stage are still critical. Even if KKR wins both of their remaining fixtures, the qualification scenario of the 2021 edition finalists will still depend on other competitors. In their previous fixture, the bowling unit perfectly covered up the blunders of the batting department as the Purple Knights registered a 52-run victory over the arch-rivals.
Hyderabad and Kolkata, both combatants are currently cruising on a tally of 10 points although Sunrisers have an advantage of having one match less than their counterparts. The 2016 edition champions missed the playoffs berth in the last season after qualifying for five straight seasons. While chasing the mammoth target of 193, the SRH batting lineup shattered against RCB and lost the encounter by 67 runs.
Head to Head record
Since Sunrisers Hyderabad’s debut in the Indian top-flight T20, they have faced KKR 22 times but could win only 8 encounters while the Purple Knights are leading the head-to-head count with 14 victories. Kolkata has completed the double over Sunrisers in the last two consecutive seasons. When they faced each other in the second encounter of 2020 at Eden Gardens, the match went for a Super Over where Lockie Ferguson’s heroics helped them to emerge victorious in an epic thriller.
It is a golden opportunity for the men in orange to complete a double and have a payback as they already defeated their counterparts earlier this season. In that face-off, Kolkata put up a massive total of 175 on the board after the death-over wrath of Andre ‘The Giant’ Russell.
The Sunrisers began their chase by losing two early wickets in the powerplay then a 93-run partnership from Aiden Markram and Rahul Tripathi for the third wicket comfortably orchestrated a successful chase.
Andre Russell: The troubleshooter of Kolkata Knight Riders is not having the 2022 campaign according to his standards although he has still played a pivotal role for his side. In the previous fixture, the Jamaican all-rounder failed to score much with the bat but went on to pick two wickets as a winning contribution. With 14 wickets from 12 innings, Russell is just a wicket behind Umesh Yadav who is the highest wicket-taker for KKR this season.
Rahul Tripathi: The ‘man in form’ will be going up against his former side as the Orange Army will be hoping for another destructive performance as he did on the previous occasion by scoring 71 runs from 37 to seal the game for Sunrisers. Even in the last game, he made a contribution of 58 runs when no other batsman could 25 runs alone and the whole SRH batting line-up collapsed for 125. Rahul has won the Player of the Match Award only three times in his IPL career of 73 matches and two of them came when the opponents were the Knight Riders.
Predicted Playing XI
Kolkata Knight Riders: Ajinkya Rahane, Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Sheldon Jackson (wk), Pat Cummins, Tim Southee, Varun Chakravarthy
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Abhishek Sharma, Kane Williamson (c), Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Shashank Singh, Jagadeesha Suchith, Kartik Tyagi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen, Umran Malik
It’s a do-or-die game for Kolkata Knight Riders and they will be playing their hearts out as they can’t afford to lose this one in order to keep their qualification hopes alive. This will be a nail-biting saga between two equally strong sides and there are high chances that an individual brilliance or late heroics may divert the outcome in his team’s favour in the dying moments.