Having suffered defeats in their opening games, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad will lock horns on Saturday at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. While Kolkata faced a tough 49-run loss to defending champions Mumbai Indians, the Sunrisers suffered a monumental batting collapse against Royal Challengers Bangalore, losing the game by 10 runs.
It was a below-par performance from the Knight Riders against MI but in KKR's defence, most of their overseas players have completed their mandatory quarantine time close to the contest. Karthik had revealed that Pat Cummins -- the side's most expensive bowler in the match against MI, had only received permission to play in the game in the evening of the game.
The other players overseas players who participated in the game -- Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine arrived in the UAE late due to their respective playing commitments, too. However, the KKR's batting performance didn't support the cause for Karthik, as the overseas players were left with too much to do in the run-chase -- a story for the franchise in the previous season, too.
When Morgan arrived in the crease during the run-chase, KKR needed 125 runs to win in 59 balls. This worsened with the arrival of Andre Russell (119 runs in 50 deliveries). The situation, hence, didn't allow the two of their best players to settle in the crease -- as a result, both could only score a combined total of 27 runs in 31 balls.
This would need changing as Karthik would want his Indian core of batting to step up -- including himself, Nitish Rana and Shubman Gill. While Karthik showed intent during the chase, he couldn't build up to his bright start in the chase. Gill, meanwhile, never gained the momentum. In the bowling attack, Kuldeep Yadav's struggles in the Kolkata jersey continued against MI and this could add to the pile of problems for the side.
While Narine bowled at 5.50 rpo in his four-over quota, Kuldeep conceded close to 10 rpo. The second-most economical bowler in the side was Shivam Mavi, who didn't play the entirety of the 2019 season for the side due to injury.
Known to put up a balanced side on the park, the Sunrisers Hyderabad lacked strength and experience in their middle-order, failing miserably against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Needing just 43 runs from last five overs, SRH lost their last seven wickets for 32 runs to lose the game by 10 runs.
If that was not enough, injury to their all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has compounded their misery.
Skipper David Warner, after being run out in an unfortunate manner at the non-striker's end, will be keen to get into the act, while it remains to be seen whether Kane Williamson has recovered from his injury to bolster the batting department.
SRH bowling has always been impressive and it seems the think tank may bring in Mohammed Nabi to bowl alongside his fellow mate Rashid Khan while Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (captain & wicketkeeper), Andre Russell, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Rinku Singh, Sandeep Warrier, Shivam Mavi, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Sunil Narine, Pat Cummins, Eoin Morgan, Varun Chakravarthy, Tom Banton (Wicketkeeper), Rahul Tripathi, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Nikhil Naik (Wicketkeeper), Ali Khan.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (Captain), Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper), Kane Williamson, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Manish Pandey, Virat Singh, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mitchell Marsh, Fabian Allen, Vijay Shankar, Sanjay Yadav, Wriddhiman Saha (Wicketkeeper), Shreevats Goswami (Wicketkeeper), Bavanaka Sandeep, Basil Thampi, Priyam Garg, Abdul Samad, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Abhishek Sharma.