Jonny Bairstow and Manish Pandey revived Sunrisers Hyderabad immensely, but losing two quick wickets at the start of the chase 188 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, was always going to hurt Sunrisers Hyderabad, who were left with too much to cover at the end. SRH eventually succumbed, falling 10 runs short of the target, hence extending their Chepauk blues of remaining winless at the venue in IPL.
Mohammad Nabi's costly return
After appearing in just one game for Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2020 in the UAE, Nabi was picked for the team's opening game of the 14th season on Sunday in Chennai. The primary reason behind the selection was the presence of three left-handed batsmen in KKR's lineup - Nitish Rana, Shakib Al Hasan and Eoin Morgan. The Afghanistan all-rounder has an economy rate of 7.85 against righties in 14 IPL innings as against a superior figure of 5.26 against lefties. Hence, when Nitish Rana looked to set the platform for KKR in the PowerPlays, David Warner introduced Nabi into the attack in the sixth over, but the batsman pulled off 14 runs off 10 balls against the off-spinner with two boundaries.
It was only in his final over, the 18th of the innings, when Nabi cleverly outfoxed Rana with a widish delivery around off, forcing the batsman to slice it straight to the fielder at long-off. In the very next ball, he dismissed Morgan, hence denying KKR for their final flourish in the death. Nevertheless, Nabi went finished with 2/32 in his four-over spell.
Rashid outsmarts Russell again
Andre Russell has been vulnerable to leg-spin bowling. Since 2018, his scoring rate against leggies is 140 in T20s, the least among all varieties, and it drops to 133 in IPL during the same period. Rashid Khan has been one of his tormentors in T20 cricket, having dismissed him thrice before in 48 balls where Russell managed only 28 runs. Hence, as soon as Russell walked in, Warner brought back Rashid for his final over and the leggie did not disappoint. In the second ball of the over, Russell holed out the floater straight to the fielder at long-on.
Role reversal in batting PowerPlay
Kolkata recorded the second-worst scoring rate in the PowerPlay last season at a rate of 6.75 runs per over. Sunrisers stood at the end of the table with a scoring rate of 7.93 runs per over and a boundary every 4.88 balls, also the best. However, on Sunday, Kolkata outscored Hyderabad, firing 50 runs without any loss of wicket, laced with 10 boundaries. SRH lost two wickets for 33 runs, laced with just three boundaries.
Kolkata, inspired by Rana's flamboyance, got off to an aggressive start, through a cautious selection of the bowler to target. While they saw off Rashid and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, against whom they managed just 27 runs for the loss of one wicket in their first five overs, KKR clobbered the other bowlers for 99 runs in the other nine overs, hence setting a perfect platform for the power-hitters to flourish in the death.
KKR cut short SRH at the start, dismissing both the openers inside 13 deliveries with Warner scoring 3 and Wriddhiman Saha scoring 7. Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow cautiously saw off the remaining PowerPlay overs, scoring a run-a-ball 23 before teeing off.
Vijay Shankar ahead of Abdul Samad and Rashid Khan
Vijay Shankar was sent in at the start of the death overs when Nabi was dismissed by Prasidh Krishna. SRH still needed 56 off 24 balls. Shankar has a death over strike rate of 151 in T20s, lower than Rashid's 160 and significantly lower than Abdul Samad's 165.9, who scored 73 runs in the death last season off 44 balls with a boundary rate of less than 5. His six-hitting theatrics included 3 against Pat Cummins, 2 each against Jasprit Bumrah and Anrich Nortje, and 1 against Kagiso Rabada. Shankar scored 11 off 7 balls with just one boundary, while Samad scored 19 off 8 balls with two boundaries.