In the first of the two doubleheader matches scheduled for the day, Shahrukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad at Eden Gardens. Sunrisers are one of the favorites to lift the trophy this year with a good all-round team which comprises of a proper blend of youth and experienced players. The same cannot be said however regarding the Kolkata based side who are currently experimenting with a relatively young and unproven players in their squad.
KKR are expected to field Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite as their imported players, while skipper Dinesh Karthik, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawala and Prasidh Krishna are expected to complete the playing eleven.
SRH on their part are expected will field their skipper Kane Williamson along with former skipper David Warner, Afghan sensation Rashid Khan, and Bangladesh skipper Shakib Al Hassan as their foreign players, while Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, and Khaleel Ahmed make the Indian set of players.
Andre Russell vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar
30-year old Jamaican, Andre Russell, has emerged as one of the decisive players for the Kolkata based KKR team over the years. Although he isn’t consistent, but his ability to take the match away from the hands of oppositions once he is set makes him one of the most feared players in the entire tournament. In the 50 IPL matches that he has played in his career so far, Russell has scored 890 runs in 39 innings with a par average of 26.97 considering he comes out to bat at No.6 or No.7 position and has so far managed to remain not-out 6 times with a whooping strike-rate of 177.29.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar is one of the only two bowlers alongside Dwayne Bravo to have won the Purple Cap twice. The go-to bowler for Sunrisers whenever they need wickets, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is not just a wicket-taker but also an economical bowler who will give very less runs in death overs. Having bowled in 102 matches, the Meerut born speedster has picked up 120 wickets with an average of 22.44 and a mind-blowing economy rate of 7.15. He further has 1 five-wicket haul and 2 four-wicket hauls to his name.
Kuldeep Yadav vs David Warner
One of the rising stars in International cricket much is expected from Kuldeep Yadav this year as he has been touted by many to be one of the front-runners to bag the Purple Cap this year. Currently positioned No. 5 in T20I rankings, Kuldeep has been a regular player for KKR since 2016. In the 30 innings that the slow left-arm chinaman has played, Kuldeep has managed to pick up 35 wickets at an average of 24.51 with an economy rate of 8.22. He has 1 four-wicket haul to his name and although these figures don’t justify the potential that Kuldeep has, but one needs to understand that this was when he didn’t have much of an International cricket exposure under his belt. But now since he has become one of the leading bowlers in International cricket, much is expected of the chinaman in this year’s tournament.
David Warner is one of the only two batsmen alongside Chris Gayle to have won the Orange Cap twice. Warner has also been one of the most successful batsmen in the IPL and holds the record for most runs by an overseas player with 4014 runs under his belt in 114 matches. He averages 40.54 with a strike-rate of 142.13 and has so far hit 3 IPL centuries and 36 half-centuries. After being banned from playing IPL last season for his role in sandpaper gate, he will be looking to prove himself and, in the process, earn a place for his national team in the World Cup squad.
Team CricWizz predicts Sunrisers to easily win their opening encounter since they have a proper blend of experience and youth in their squad. Kolkata, on the other hand, depend solely on certain individuals and thus one cannot expect them to win a match against a quality opposition such as the SRH.