Kolkata Knight Riders will have no margin for error when they take on hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad, who will fancy their chances despite coming off a defeat, in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.
Currently occupying the top spot with nine wins from 13 matches, Sunrisers are coming into the game following a 14-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scoring match, but the home team can take confidence from their impressive showing in the season so far.
Two-time champions KKR are placed third in the standings with seven wins in 13 outings, and the visitors will be going all out for a victory at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, and inch closer to SRH and Chennai Super Kings.
After Sunrisers’ dismal performance against RCB with the ball, which has been one of their strong points this season, the hosts will be eager to correct the flaws as they brace up to face another tough opposition.
Sunrisers are likely to ring in a couple of changes and pacer Basil Thampi, who yesterday bowled the most expensive four overs in the history of IPL, could be one of the axed players.
Thampi leaked 70 runs in his full quota of four overs, surpassing the previous record held by Ishant Sharma.
While the bowlers were taken to task by the likes of AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali in their last game, Sunrisers showed a lot of heart while batting, coming within touching distance of a famous win.
Aggregating over 600 runs this season, skipper Kane Williamson has led the side from the front, and he will look to do it again. The 81 off 42 balls against RCB was Williamson’s eighth fifty-plus score in IPL 2018.
Having missed out against RCB, opener Shikhar Dhawan will be keen to get a big one against the Knight Riders.
Manish Pandey, who blazed away to a half century against Virat Kohli’s bowlers, will look to continue in the same vein.
In bowling, pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was not played in the last game, could be back alongside Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul and Shakib Al Hasan.
As far as KKR is concerned, one player whose confidence will be sky high going into the match is Kuldeep Yadav, who starred with four wickets in the team’s comfortable win over Rajasthan Royals.
The likes of Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine and skipper Dinesh Karthik will hold the key to KKR’s fortunes.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi and Chris Jordan.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (c), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R. Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran. Match starts at 4 pm. (PTI)