Kolkata Knight Riders were off to a tough start this season, having lost their opening game to defending champions Mumbai Indians. Meanwhile, Sunrisers Hyderabad, too, lost their opener, against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Both KKR and SRH have won the title before.
With the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) giving off surprises in more-or-less every match, we are all set for Match 8, between two former champions, as Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) face off against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
KKR were off to a tough start in their season opener, as they lost to defending champions Mumbai Indians, which also ended their seven-season winning streak of the same. As for SRH, they too succumbed to a loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore, especially following a healthy start.
Team composition: KKR have a mix of young talent and some big names in the side, as they would look to surprise their opponents with it. As for SRH, they too have an evenly balanced squad. However, it is their middle-order that needs to click.
Current form: Both the teams are coming off a loss, so they will need to start from scratch. Consequently, there would be some changes in the playing XI, until the time they find the XI that manages to win. However, if SRH want, they could stick with their previous XI.
Head-to-head: As for their head-on clashes to date, KKR have the upper hand. In 17 matches, KKR have won on 10 occasions, while SRH have won seven. The teams have never clashed in the UAE before. As for their last encounter, SRH had won at home.
Weather and pitch report: With the temperature expected to be around 36 degrees, it would once again be hot and humid, along with chances of dew, later, in the evening. Meanwhile, the pitch would again be on the slower side. Thus, the team winning the toss would like to bowl first.
KKR: Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik (wk & c), Nikhil Naik, Pat Cummins, Kuldeep Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi.
SRH: David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan.
Wicketkeepers: Karthik and Bairstow- Karthik is really reliable with the bat and the gloves, while Bairstow has a big chance of firing with the bat, as an opener.
Batsmen: Gill, Warner and Pandey- Warner has to be Bairstow's opening partner, who can flourish on any given day, while Gill and Pandey can give stability to the middle-order, along with Karthik.
All-rounders: Russell and Rana- Russell is a no-brainer here, while Rana's knack of playing as per the situation demands, and being a healthy off-spinner, gives him the edge.
Bowlers: Kuldeep, Mavi, Natarajan and Rashid- Kuldeep and Rashid are most certain to dominate with the spin, while Mavi was impressive with his pace in the last game, as was Natarajan, thus making them strong favourites in this tie as well.
Players to watch out:
Warner: Known for his explosive start, he would be eyeing to give the perfect one against KKR, along with Bairstow.
Rashid: One of the prime spinners in the format, Rashid can trouble anyone with his spin, on any given track.
Russell: A no-brainer, as Russell could not only make the ball fly on his day, but he is also a healthy pace bowler, who can churn out wickets when needed.
Narine: The mystery of the mystery spinner is set to continue, while it would be interesting to see if he fires as an opener, following his failure in the opening tie.
Prediction: Both teams would be determined for a comeback, following their opening howler. However, both historically and going by the conditions, KKR might just have the upper hand here.
Last Updated 25, Sep 2020, 6:12 PM