Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad: Preview and Prediction

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Both teams have finished outside the playoff places in the last two seasons

Two-time Indian Premier League champions Kolkata Knight Riders will host 2016 IPL champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in the second match of the ‘Double Header Saturday’ at the Eden Gardens from 7:30 pm onwards.

In a match that will serve as the season opener for both sides, the fans would get to witness new faces in both dugouts as Gautam Gambhir has returned to KKR while Shreyas Iyer is also back as the skipper of the Knight Riders for the 2024 IPL season. 

On the other hand, Pat Cummins has been handed the reigns at Sunrisers Hyderabad by new head coach Daniel Vettori who has also worked with the Australian captain in the national team setup.

What has happened so far?

In IPL 2023, KKR started off with misfortune as the Knight Riders lost the services of skipper Shreyas Iyer and the very heavy burden of leading the two-time champions fell to Nitish Rana who crumbled under pressure finishing seventh with 12 points from 14 matches.

At the IPL 2024 Auction, KKR splashed INR 24.75 Crores on Mitchell Starc while also signing Chetan Sakariya, Manish Pandey, Mujeeb ur Rahman, and Sherfane Rutherford to heavily bolster all bases across the squad.

Jason Roy was also signed to fill the opening slot but the Englishman has backed out of the tournament with Phil Salt expected to fill in at the top of the order in the upcoming season. The inexperienced Gus Atkinson also backed out of the tournament at the last moment like Roy and Gambhir moved astutely to replace the English fast bowler with Dushmantha Chameera.

SRH bagged the wooden spoon in the 2023 IPL season with a star-studded squad taken into the ground by head coach Brian Lara and skipper Aiden Markram who weren’t able to get the best out of their players.

To address the same, the Sunrisers took a harsh call of sacking two-time SA20-winning skipper Markram from the captaincy and installed Cummins, bought for a price of INR 20.5 Crores, as the new skipper. Apart from Cummins, SRH spent big on Travis Head while bagging Wanindu Hasaranga and Jaydev Unadkat at their base price.

Head to Head Record

KKR has always had a good record against SRH as the Kolkata-based franchise has 16 wins in 25 encounters while the Sunrisers have edged the remaining 9 matches.

In their title-winning season in 2016, the Hyderabad-based side lost to KKR in both matches in the league stage but defeated them in the Eliminator before trouncing the now-defunct Gujarat Lions and the Royal Challengers Bangalore to lift the trophy for the first time.

Key Players

Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders): The return of Gambhir spells good fortune for the KKR fans who would love nothing more than the glorious years of 2012 and 2014 being transported to the calendar year 2024.

While the years can’t be transported, the spin-friendly tracks could surely return to the Eden Gardens in IPL 2024 which would assist the trio of Sunil Narine, Varun Chakravarthy, and Suyash Sharma in bamboozling the opposition sides.

Sunil Narine would be aiming to get his glorious years back in the IPL

Narine’s effect has been waning in the last two years as he could pick up only 20 wickets across IPL 2022 and IPL 2023 while scoring 92 runs with the bat in hand. The Caribbean all-rounder would be aiming to get his mojo back under Gambhir’s leadership.

Heinrich Klaasen (Sunrisers Hyderabad): Heinrich Klaasen finds the place in every debate of the best T20 batsman in the world currently as the Proteas wicket-keeper batter has been in a rich vein of form during the last couple of years in white-ball cricket.

The middle-order batter finished as the second-highest run-scorer in the 2024 SA20 season,  smashing 447 runs at an unbelievable strike rate of 207.91. Klaasen also had a good time at the 2023 ICC Cricket World Cup scoring 373 runs at a brilliant strike of more than 133 while maintaining an average of.41.44.

Batting alongside the likes of Aiden Markram, Head, Glenn Phillips, Mayank Agarwal, and others would keep the Proteas batter on his toes while he would also be mindful of maintaining his form ahead of the 2024 ICC T20 World Cup.

Team News from Both Camps

Skipper Shreyas Iyer is back for KKR but according to certain reports, the Mumbai batter might miss the first couple of encounters to assess his fitness after not taking the field in the fourth innings of the 2023-24 Ranji Trophy final.

Wanindu Hasaranga reversed his retirement from Test cricket to represent Sri Lanka against Bangladesh in a 2-match test series and the bowling all-rounder would miss the first three or four fixtures of SRH in IPL 2024. 

While there are always clouds over T Natarajan’s fitness, Unadkat would serve as the perfect backup for the left-arm seamer. 

Predicted XIs

Kolkata Knight Riders: Venkatesh Iyer, Phil Salt (wk), Shreyas Iyer ©, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Mitchell Starc, Vaibhav Arora, Suyash Sharma, Varun Chakravarthy

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Mayank Agarwal, Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Glenn Phillips, Washington Sundar, Pat Cummins ©, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mayank Markande, T Natarajan


Kolkata Knight Riders would be embracing the return of the prodigal son in Gambhir as the skipper who lifted two IPL trophies for the franchise has finally returned to the Eden Gardens dugout and the former Member of the Lok Sabha would be aiming for nothing less than a win to use this season in preparation for the IPL 2025 Mega Auction.

On the other hand, the Sunrisers will be witnessing another new coach-captain pairing for the fourth consecutive season and expectations will be riding high on Cummins after the major amount spent on procuring the Australian’s services.