A new captain at the helm, Kolkata Knight Riders would look to sort out their batting woes and strive for consistency when they face Sunrisers Hyderabad in an intriguing mid-table Indian Premier League clash in Abu Dhabi on Sunday.
After a string of below par performances, Dinesh Karthik handed over the reins to his deputy Eoin Morgan hours before KKR’s match against Mumbai Indians on Friday. But the World Cup-winning England captain’s campaign as leader was off to a disappointing start with MI handing KKR an eight-wicket loss.
KKR are still in the top four of IPL points table behind Mumbai Indians, Delhi Capitals and Royal Challengers Bangalore with four wins and as many defeats. But if the two-time champions want to seal a play-off spot, their batsmen need to step up, shrug off their inconsistencies and win matches for the team.
The Sunrisers, who occupy the fifth spot on the points table with just three wins from eight outings, are also struggling.
With the injuries ruling out pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, the Orange Army is facing a conundrum of whether to strengthen their batting or their bowling unit, a fact that skipper David Warner conceded.
|Matches||KKR wins||SRH wins||Ties||KKR win%||SRH win%|
After a massive 82-run loss to RCB, the KKR batsmen failed yet again against MI bowlers as they were reduced to 42/4 in the eighth over. Half of KKR batsmen were gone for 61 in the 11th over. An 87-run unbroken stand for the sixth wicket between Morgan (39 not out) and pacer Pat Cummins (53 not out) took them to 148 for 5.
But MI needed just 16.5 overs to overhaul the target, losing two wickets in the process.
At the top, Shubhman Gill has failed to capitalise on his starts, while Rahul Tripathi has not gone past the 20-run mark after his brilliant 81 against the Chennai Super Kings.
Nitish Rana has been profligate and Karthik’s batting slot has been experimented with throughout the tournament. Andre Russell and Morgan have also not been able to make the kind of impact expected from players of their calibre.
The KKR bowlers did well to fashion narrow victories against Kings XI Punjab and CSK, but leaked runs against RCB and MI. To add to their woes, star spinner Sunil Narine has been reported for suspect bowling action and he has missed two matches since then.
For Sunrisers, a cause of concern is Rashid Khan’s form. After returning impressive figures like 3/14, 0/12, 3/12, the Afghan leg- spinner remained ineffective in the team’s last two losses. Rahul Tewatia, Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson smashed him for sixes.
Skipper Warner will desperately hope that his star spinner finds his mojo back which is imperative for the team’s success. As a team, they heavily rely on its batting unit, mainly on the top four comprising Jonny Bairstow, Warner, Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson.
|KKR vs MI||23 Sep, Wed (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR lost by 49 runs||0|
|KKR vs SRH||26 Sep, Sat (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 7 wickets||2|
|RR vs KKR||30 Sep, Wed (1930)||Dubai||KKR won by 37 runs||4|
|DC vs KKR||3 Oct, Sat (1930)||Sharjah||KKR lost by 18 runs||4|
|KKR vs CSK||7 Oct, Wed (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 10 runs||6|
|KXIP vs KKR||10 Oct, Sat (1530)||Abu Dhabi||KKR won by 2 runs||8|
|RCB vs KKR||12 Oct, Mon (1930)||Sharjah||KKR lost by 82 runs||8|
|MI vs KKR||16 Oct, Fri (1930)||Abu Dhabi||KKR lost by 8 wickets||8|
|SRH vs RCB||21 Sep, Mon (1930)||Dubai||SRH lost by 10 runs||0|
|KKR vs SRH||26 Sep, Sat (1930)||Abu Dhabi||SRH lost by 7 wickets||0|
|DC vs SRH||29 Sep, Tue (1930)||Abu Dhabi||SRH won by 15 runs||2|
|CSK vs SRH||2 Oct, Fri (1930)||Dubai||SRH won by 7 runs||4|
|MI vs SRH||4 Oct, Sun (1530)||Sharjah||SRH lost by 34 runs||4|
|SRH vs KXIP||8 Oct, Thu (1930)||Dubai||SRH won by 69 runs||6|
|SRH vs RR||11 Oct, Sun (1530)||Dubai||SRH lost by 5 wickets||6|
|SRH vs CSK||13 Oct, Tue (1930)||Dubai||SRH lost by 20 runs||6|
|Nitish Rana||Kuldeep Yadav||Andre Russell||Dinesh Karthik|
|Rinku Singh||Prasidh Krishna||Sunil Narine||Nikhil Shankar Naik|
|Shubman Gill||Sandeep Warrier||Pat Cummins|
|Siddhesh Lad||Shivam Mavi||Varun Chakravarthy|
|Eoin Morgan||Kamlesh Nagarkoti||Chris Green|
|Rahul Tripathi||Lockie Ferguson|
|Tom Banton||M Siddharth|
|Kane Williamson||Rashid Khan||Vijay Shankar||Jonny Bairstow|
|David Warner||Bhuvneshwar Kumar||Mohammad Nabi||Wriddhiman Saha|
|Manish Pandey||Khaleel Ahmed||Abhishek Sharma||Shreevats Goswami|
|Priyam Garg||Sandeep Sharma||Mitchell Marsh|
|Virat Singh||Siddarth Kaul||Fabian Allen|
|Billy Stanlake||Sandeep Bavanaka|
|T Natarajan||Sanjay Yadav|
|Shahbaz Nadeem||Abdul Samad|
Match starts at 1530 IST and will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and Disney+Hotstar
(With PTI inputs)