Kolkata Knight Riders will look to put a spanner in the season of defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad when they face off at the Eden Gardens on Saturday, April 15.
Kolkata Knight Riders are one of the favourites to go deep this season and they started with a bang by destroying Gujarat Lions by 10-wickets. What was satisfying was the destructive batting by Chris Lynn and the calm presence of Gautam Gambhir.
But their confidence came crashing down in the next match at Wankhede where they lost to Mumbai Indians by four-wickets. It was batting that once again was the highlight of the day but the bowlers couldn’t deliver when needed and leaked runs at the death.
The re-laid pitch at Eden Gardens was the talking point in the pre-season with rumours that the pace has quickened. With Lynn sidelined for at least the next couple of weeks, Gambhir could be tempted to draft in a pace-bowling all-rounder.
The Sunrisers more or less have a settled squad and this showed in their great start to the season. Yuvraj Singh was the star of the show in the first match where they thumped Royal Challengers Bangalore handsomely.
Sunrisers then followed it up with a comprehensive win over Gujarat in the second match, riding on the guile of Rashid Khan. The emergence of this young Afghan leg-spinner is one of the surprises of this season and could well turn out to be the story for Sunrisers.
Their run was halted though by Mumbai Indians in their next match as the Sunrisers lost by four-wickets. Although it was dew that affected their bowling plans, David Warner would still be thinking about the lack of batting performances beyond the openers.
Can De Grandhomme get a game? One of the most explosive strikers in T20 cricket, he could be a tough nut for the Sunrisers if selected.
Warner will have a tough choice to make if Moises Henriques is available after illness. Rashid and Ben Cutting can’t be replaced but does that mean Mustafizur Rahman would miss out?
The Sunrisers appear to be a favourite opponent for Kolkata, who did the double last year. At Hyderabad they owed the win to a captain’s knock from Gambhir, while at Kolkata it was the pyrotechnics of Yusuf Pathan that won them the match.
Kolkata may have lost their last match but at home they will be a tough proposition. Odds of $1.95 (Sportsbet
) make them slight outsiders and that is because the Sunrisers will be tougher for them to scale – especially since their attack is more suited to the pitch. Back the visitors to win at odds of $1.91 (Ladbrokes
Coming to the batsmen, Dhawan and Gambhir will be more vital for their sides’ fortunes. Back Dhawan to be the top Sunrisers’ batsman at odds of $4.50 (bet365
) while Gambhir is offered odds of $3.50 (TopBetta
) to be the hosts’ top scorer.
The first six overs will be crucial if it is a seaming pitch and at odds of $1.91 (Ladbrokes
), the Sunrisers are a better pick to have the bigger total in the powerplay.