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With playoff hopes hanging by a thread, SRH and KKR aim to stay alive

Last updated on 03 May 2023 | 04:38 PM
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With playoff hopes hanging by a thread, SRH and KKR aim to stay alive

Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders have no room for error as the Indian Premier League (IPL) heads toward its business end

Sunrisers Hyderabad conquered Delhi Capitals in their backyard. However, the biggest problem that has haunted Hyderabad is their consistency. They won their first game after two successive defeats but bounced back with back-to-back wins. When everyone thought they had found momentum, they slipped again with three consecutive losses. 

There is no room for error now. They have to keep winning to stay alive. Can the win against Delhi set the pace for them? 

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) are similar to Hyderabad. They lost their first game but won two on the trot. Thanks to some individual brilliance from Shardul Thakur (vs RCB) and Rinku Singh (vs GT). After these two wins, Kolkata had four losses in a row, one more than Hyderabad. They won against Bangalore to register six points but lost their previous game against Gujarat. 

To summarize, both teams are feuding for consistency, not just in wins but also from their players. 

Things to watch out for

Kolkata pacers are not helping their team

Kolkata's pacers were excellent in the last three years of the IPL before the 2023 season. 

From 2020 to 2022, the pacers were exceptional for them. They had bagged 68% of the wickets (164 out of 241) at an economy of 8.6 and a balls/wicket ratio of 18.3. In comparison, the spinners had snaffled a wicket every 28.9 balls and conceded at seven runs per over. 

However, the story has changed this season because their pacers have been toothless. They have neither picked up wickets nor contained the runs. In all aspects, their economy (11.2), average (51.7), and strike rate (27.6), they have been the worst among all teams. 

Batters inconsistency affecting Hyderabad

Hyderabad might have won three matches, but their biggest concern has been their inconsistent batters. Heinrich Klaasen is an exception in this list. 

He scored an unbeaten 16 of 6 against Kolkata in his first innings and followed it up with a 36 against Mumbai. In the last two innings, he has scored 30+ in back-to-back matches. He has been their best batter so far, averaging 51 at a strike rate of 182.1 with 153 runs. 

Rahul Tripathi and Aiden Markram are the only two other batters to have scored 30+ in two consecutive innings. However, that does not mean they have been consistent. Apart from those two innings, Tripathi and Markram have three single-digit scores. None of Mayank Agarwal, Abhishek Sharma, and Harry Brook have scored 15+ runs in back-to-back innings. 

The IPL 2023 is at its business end, and Hyderabad needs its prime batters to be in perfect shape if they are to proceed further. 

Markande, the flag bearer of Hyderabad spinners 

The leg-spinner has outclassed everyone in a squad filled with international stars like Adil Rashid, Washington Sundar (ruled out), and Akeal Hosein. 

The gulf of difference between them is massive, in both overs bowled and wickets. Markande has bagged ten wickets in this IPL when no other Hyderabad spinner has more than three. Overall as well, he is the highest wicket-taker for SRH.

In six innings, Markande has bowled at an economy of 6.4. His economy is the best among bowlers who have bowled 15+ overs in this IPL. 

Ground details

Before the start of this IPL, the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad was a paradise for pacers. They had bagged a wicket every 19.2 balls, compared to 27.5 balls by spinners. However, this season has been different. 

Both pacers and spinners have been neck-to-neck. Pacers have bagged more wickets (62.5%) than spinners (37.5%). But, the strike rates have been almost equal. Spinners have a slight edge as they have bagged a wicket every 19.4 balls compared to 19.8 by pacers.

On average, 171 runs are scored in the first innings at this venue. In four matches, teams batting first have won three. The only target chased is 145 by the home team against Punjab Kings. 

Tactical Nous

- Umran Malik is yet to step up in the IPL. He has an economy of 10.4 and has a wicket every 20.4 balls. Throughout this IPL, his major run-leaking length has been back of a length and short balls. 

When he bowls on the back of a length (42.2%), Umran concedes at 9.3. Further down, on short deliveries (14.7%), his economy rises even more. His economy is decent on good-length (28.3%) and full-length (12.7%) deliveries. 

- Before the start of this IPL, Nitish Rana was one of the best left-handed batters against the offies. He averaged 41.7 in 31 innings at a strike rate of 166.9. Rana's strike rate was the best among lefties, with 100+ balls against off-spinners. However, this season, he has been dismissed thrice at an average of 7.7 and he's struck at 109.5, the worst record against a bowling type in this IPL. 

Team news

Hyderabad had a near-perfect game against Delhi Capitals in their previous game. However, with Brook struggling, they might bring in Glenn Phillips, a good player of spin. But then again, Brook scored a century against the same opponent in the reverse fixture, so SRH might be tempted to keep him in the XI. 

Probable XI: Abhishek Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram (c), Harry Brook/Glenn Phillips, Heinrich Klaasen, Abdul Samad, Akeal Hosein, Mayank Markande, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Umran Malik

Probable Impact sub: Rahul Tripathi for T Natarajan 

If Jason Roy is fit, David Wiese will make way for him. Rahmanullah Gurbaz will likely keep his spot after a smashing innings against Gujarat Titans. If Roy and Gurbaz are opening the innings, then Anukul Roy will replace N Jagadeesan. 

Probable XI: Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (c), Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy

Probable Impact sub: Suyash Sharma for Venkatesh Iyer 

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