IPL 2019 Match Preview: M2 – KKR VS SRH: Both teams were among the top four teams last season; while SRH were table toppers at the end of the league stage, KKR progressed to the playoffs as the team that finished third. However, neither team went on to lay hands on the silverware; KKR lost to SRH in the third playoff match (Qualifier 2), while SRH themselves finished runner-up to Chennai Super Kings.
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR looked massively understaffed going into the 2018 season with just 19 players in their squad, and yet they punched way above their weight under the new skipper and bowed out only at the penultimate stage when not many gave them a chance to even make it past the group stage.
They rectified their shortcomings at the auctions ahead of 2019 season, beefing up their foreign pace and all-round bench to complement a very strong first-choice eleven, and at the same time showed immense faith in their squad of 2018 that helped them to a third-place finish.
A couple of injuries though have set them back in the pace department, which remains a concern given they play their home games on the Eden Gardens’ pacy deck, but the starting eleven bears a very settled look with last season’s core retained as is and likely to feature majorly for the entirety of the competition.
If KKR can field their first eleven consistently in the league phase, it’s hard to see them not making the play-offs cut again. Unlike most other teams, where KKR hold a bit of an edge is that even with the World Cup in sight, they don’t stand to lose a lot of their international recruits towards the business end of the tournament.
Probable XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c/wk), Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Prasidh Krishna
Despite being one of the top teams in IPL in the last three years, Sunrisers enter yet another season of the competition with not many eyeballs tracking their every pre-season move.
Even without too many big Indian names, they will still be one of the most complete squads on paper. Not only do they have players and backups for most positions, and even problem of plenty in some, they have a squad that has proven performers under pressure. Historically, a settled core has proved to be successful in IPL, and Sunrisers will bank on that yet again.
One of the biggest advantages for the team will be the return of David Warner. He may not get back the post of a captain, but he will still be a crucial member in the leadership group – Tom Moody and Kane Williamson – that has been key in SRH’s success.
Not to forget, he also adds muscle at the top of the batting order, that is now missing Shikhar Dhawan. Williamson is likely to miss this contest due to an injury and in that case, their new recruit Jonny Bairstow will fancy his chances of making it to the XI with Bhuvneshwar Kumar leading the side.
Probable XI: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow, Wriddhiman Saha, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Yusuf Pathan, Deepak Hooda, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Billy Stanlake, Siddarth Kaul
Sunrisers Hyderabad (From): David Warner, Kane Williamson(c), Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Martin Guptill, Jonny Bairstow(w), Yusuf Pathan, Ricky Bhui, Shreevats Goswami, Shakib Al Hasan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Vijay Shankar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma, Billy Stanlake, K Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan
Kolkata Knight Riders (From): Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Robin Uthappa, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Shubman Gill, Rinku Singh, Nikhil Naik, Joe Denly, Shrikant Mundhe, Carlos Brathwaite, Andre Russell, KC Cariappa, Nitish Rana, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Harry Gurney, Yarra Prithviraj