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Crucial 2 points on mind as KKR, SRH lock horns

Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad have two needs in common as they head into today’s match of Dream XI IPL 2020 in Abu Dhabi – the first being the need of the crucial two points to be in the Top 4, and the other being more consistent in the batting.

Both KKR and SRH have suffered two consecutive losses and as the return leg gets closer to the finishing line, both teams will have quite a few loopholes to mend. At this point, KKR are two points ahead of SRH and they would surely want to make the gap wider on Sunday with a win.

Eoin Morgan, who has just taken over the reins from Dinesh Karthik, will have plenty of brainstorming to finalise a playing XI that can be consistently winning matches. The time of experimentation is drawing to end.

Talking about how he will cope with the pressure on being handed over the captaincy midway in the tournament, Morgan said, “I think we are in a team of leaders, and given that myself and Dinesh were titled leaders –vice-captain and captain – I think it will be a smooth transition. I think it took a lot of courage for DK (Karthik) and a lot of selflessness from him to come forward and recognise within himself that he wanted to focus on his batting. It is a great opportunity for me to lead the team. But as I said, within our group of players, we have a number of leaders that we will need throughout this competition.”

In their previous meeting with SRH, Kolkata did pretty well with the ball and restricted them to 142. En-route to the 7-wicket win, Pat Cummins’ economical spell restricted the run flow in the powerplay while Varun Chakravarthy and Andre Russell bowled brilliantly to choke them in the middle and death overs. Even though David Warner and Manish Pandey have shown signs of form, consistency has been a major problem for the entire SRH batting line-up.

Kolkata, on the other hand, have struggled with the middle order time and again as well. Despite changes in batting order, most players have failed to hit the purple patch and showed a lack of intent to grind it out till the end. Rahul Tripathi has struggled in the last two matches but a lot is still expected out of the swashbuckling opener. Shubman Gill played a calculative and mature knock of 62-ball 70* during his last outing against SRH and earned a lot of accolades. He will be pivotal in keeping the top order together if KKR are to start on a strong note.

As the track in Abu Dhabi gets slower every day, a major focus will be on the two teams’ spinners. Sunil Narine has missed out on the last two matches and in his absence Chris Green got a chance to swing his arms. He, if given another chance, will have to provide ample support to Varun Chakravarthy, who has been pretty impressive so far. It will also be interesting to see if Kuldeep Yadav gets another scope to contribute to the team. He was indeed out of form but as the turf turns more spin-friendly, Yadav may just be looked at once again.

For SRH, Rashid Khan will be the key man once more. The talented leg-spinner has already bagged 10 wickets from 8 matches and kept his average economy rate below 6 RPO so far. Our batting stalwarts like Eoin Morgan and Andre Russell have struggled against him in the past and it will be no surprise if we see him take on our middle order once again. While Morgan has just managed to score 18 runs in his 3 innings of IPL against Rashid, Dre Russ has accumulated just 8 runs in equal number of innings.

Kolkata Knight Riders take on Sunrisers Hyderabad at 3.30PM IST in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. Stay tuned on our social pages for the latest updates. Korbo, lorbo, jeetbo!