Finally, the 14th edition of the Indian Premier League has begun, as teams battle it out for the most coveted title. We will see Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) take on the Kolkata Knightriders (KKR) for the third match of this season. With the match taking place in Chennai, bowlers will have a prominent role to play in this game.

Today we take an in-depth look at the bowlers of each side to try and predict who will play a major role to play and which team can have the upper hand heading into the game. With a pitch that has something to offer for the bowlers, it will be a case of who utilizes it best to win this batsmen-friendly game.

The first six over is absolutely crucial to both teams. As the fielding restrictions are at play, batsmen’s men will be looking at attack from the forefront as bowlers try to make early breakthroughs as both sides set to set the tone for the rest of the match.

Phase 1: Overs 1-6  

Pat Cummins was made one of the most expensive buys in IPL 2020 but has failed to match his performances with that of his price tag. KKR often opening with the combination of pace and spin, we see Sunil Narine sharing the new ball duties with the Australian pacer. Sunil Narine has tasted much success claiming 24 wickets with a good economy of 6.12. But it’s the Australian bowler who boasts the better strike rate 24.14 by a little margin.

Phase 1 (Overs 1-6)

Sunrisers' success lies in the find of Sandeep Sharma, who has similar numbers to that of Mumbai pacer Jasprit Bumrah, whereas Kolkata’s Prasidh Krishna has fared miserably in the power play overs. Sandeep is often accompanied by Bhuveneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan, with all three bowlers being stringently economical. The combination of Bhuveneshwar and Sandeep alone has amounted to 101 wickets for the Sunrisers.

Verdict:  Although a spin-friendly pitch, and Sunil Narine should find more assistance. As the first match between MI and RCB has shown, there is something for the pacers. And the Hyderabad franchise has one of the best in Bhuveneshwar Kumar and vastly underrated Sandeep Sharma who can trouble the Kolkata Knightrider top order.

Phase 2: Over 7-16

The middle orders would see the fielding restrictions lifted with both sides jostling for control. With more spinners coming into play, Sunil Narine will be accompanied by Varun Chakravarthy, an Indian leg spinner. Shivam Mavi takes up the role of the third bowler. The West Indian spinner will take the lead role as he often breakthroughs picking up 53 wickets with an equally good economy of 6.37, Varun Chakravarthy lagging not far behind striking at a rate of 15.38.

Phase 2 (Overs 7-16)

Sunrisers’ middle overs are lead by Rashid Khan, World's no. 2 ranked T20I bowler. Bowling quicker through the air, he has found much success with his leggies. Picking up 58 wickets with a strike rate of 20.6 for a miserly economy of 6 runs per over, his bowling is phenomenal. Accompanied by T Natrajan and Jason Holder, who has struggled to make an impact during the middle overs, the lack of spin options might be a cause of worry.

Verdict: Kolkata Knightriders looks better placed to better utilize the pitch during the middle orders as Jason Holder and T Natrajan fail to inspire confidence to be a cause of worry for the batsman. The middle overs remain crucial for the KKR batsmen if they hope to over the Hyderabad bowling attack.

Phase 3: Overs 17-20

The final crucial overs see the return of Australian star paceman Pat Cummins supported by Shivam Mavi. The Indian bowler fares much better in the death overs for taking wickets with his strike rate jumping up to 15.25. But his economy also takes a hit rising up to 9.74, which means he would leak an awful lot of runs. With all his experience and star value Pat Cummins fares much worse struggling in containing runs or taking wickets.

Phase 3 (Overs 17-20)

Sunrisers' death bowling is taken up by Bhuvneshhwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma, with Sandeep Sharma outshining the Indian national team player. Picking up 11 wickets in 20.4 overs and with an economy of 8.32, Sandeep clearly outmatches Bhuveneshwar Kumar in the death in the IPL. But Bhuveneshwar’s return to form in the recent Indian England series, the Indian paceman will be keen to improve those numbers.

Verdict: Sunrisers Hyderabad surely comes out on top in the death overs with more wicket-taking potential and disturbing the rhythm of the batting team. Kolkata will have to be wary heading into the final overs, hoping one of their bowlers rises up to the occasion and take the onus during the death overs.

From our analysis, Sunrisers clearly hold the advantage in the powerplay and death overs with superior bowlers in both phases. They hold all the keys to define the rhythm of the innings and determine the proceedings. Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy will look to establish some form of control during the middle overs but would need some of their pacemen to step up to pose any kind of threat to KKR.

Bowlers to watch out for in each phase of the innings:

Phase 1 (Overs 1-6): Bhuvneshwar Kumar (SRH)

Phase 2 (Overs 7-16): Rashid Khan (SRH)

Phase 3 (Overs 17-20): Sandeep Sharma (SRH)

This brings an end to our insight into the bowling showdown between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knightriders. The league standings taking shape and all teams register their first points, Let us know your thoughts on which bowler stands best to make the most impact and claim victory for their respective team.

Stats Credits: Arghyadip Ganguly