T20 may be all about batting, or so many will have you believe, but try telling that to Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad, who have both shown that there is more than one way to skin a cat (In this case, win T20 matches and the IPL).
Match 14 of IPL 2017 is a battle between the reigning IPL champions and KKR at the Eden Gardens is one that will be dominated by whose batting line-up is able to withstand the pressure that is sure to come from a well-balanced bowling attack which ticks all the boxes.
KKR returned back to winning ways against Kings XI Punjab and will be looking to continue their winning start on home turf against the reigning IPL champions. The form of their openers has meant that the middle-order has largely been devoid of any responsibilities. With no Russell and a re-laid track at home, KKR went for Colin de Grandhomme against KXIP and it will be interesting to see if they stick with the Kiwi or go for the tried and test option in Shakib Al Hasan. The form of Trent Boult is also a worry as the left-arm pacer has been expensive and picked up just a solitary wicket in the tournament so far.
As far as SRH are concerned, the only real concern they had, came true in their last game as their slightly vulnerable middle-order was exposed with the return of Mustafizur Rahman and the absence of Moises Henriques. With the Bangladesh fast bowler likely to be given a longer rope, Rashid Khan proving to be a sensation and David Warner being the captain, the last overseas is likely to go Cutting again given his lower-order hitting and the flexibility he provides.
Sunrisers Hyderabad, are yet to beat Kolkata Knight Riders at Eden Gardens, having lost all four matches at the ground against Gautam Gambhir’s side. Their overall record against KKR is six losses out of nine and that is something that they will be hoping to change.
Match date: 15-04-2017
Match time: 1600 hours (IST)
Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata
If Kolkata Knight Riders bat first
Predicted score: 175+
Gautam Gambhir may not be playing for India regularly but his impressive IPL form has been something to behold. He already has two fifties in this year’s tournament and with Manish Pandey also in form, KKR have a formidable top-order that is also in form.
But the big issue for KKR is what happens when they do fail. There was a hint of that against Mumbai where no one barring Pandey got going and form of their middle-order is likely to restrict their chances of a big total if one of their top three don’t score big and the form of Sunil Narine as opener is unlikely to be as good as it was against Kings XI, considering the quality of attack, SRH have.
If Sunrisers Hyderabad bat first
Predicted score: 180+
David Warner continues to be in ridiculous form. Shikhar Dhawan has shown glimpses of coming good as well and Yuvraj Singh scored his fastest IPL fifty in the opener. With Ben Cutting as well to finish the innings, SRH have all the ingredients to get a huge total on a good batting surface.
While KKR do have an in-form Umesh Yadav to lead the bowling attack, Trent Boult hasn’t been as impressive. While Sunil Narine is still economical, he isn’t as effective since his re-modelled action and with not a lot of wicket-taking options with the ball, barring Kuldeep Yadav, KKR will find it tough to keep an explosive SRH batting line-up quiet.
Predicted winners: Sunrisers Hyderabad