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IPL 2021: KKR Up Against Resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad in Opener

IPL 2021: KKR Up Against Resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad in Opener

The Eoin Morgan-led KKR side will be clashing with a consistent Sunrisers Hyderabad in M.A. Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday.

  • Updated: April 10, 2021, 12:31 PM IST

In his first run as a full-time captain, English cricketer Eoin Morgan seems to be the highlight of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) side as the pressure builds for the two-time IPL champions to make their glorious return. Morgan took charge of an ordinary-looking KKR under Dinesh Karthik midway into the last season held in the UAE, and the team managed to finish on same points with SRH and RCB, but the two teams advanced on better run-rate as KKR missed the playoffs for the second time in succession.

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This year, the story is different for KKR. In Shubman Gill, they have a top-order batsman who can easily shift gears, while the likes of Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana and veteran Dinesh Karthik, who is now free from the captaincy burden, can form the core of their Indian batting.Morgan will look to bat through the overs, while 2019 MVP Andre Russell is a hopeful candidate for an explosive return after a quiet last season.Russell had the worst season by his standards, averaging 13 in nine innings without a single match-winning performance, as the over-dependency on the Jamaican cost KKR dearly last season.

Fellow West-Indian, Sunil Narine, was also underwhelming in UAE. Whether it was his suspect bowling action or his failing against the short ball, Narine, who was instrumental in their twin triumphs in 2012 and 2014, looked a pale shadow of his past.

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A more promising aspect would be Shakib Al Hasan, their buy in this year’s auction.

Also on the slow Chepauk strip, is the new ‘Knight,’ 40-year-old Harbhajan Singh, who will aim to make maximum impact in what could be his last IPL.

They also have a mystery spinner in Varun Chakravarthy who struck it rich in absence of Narine last year but his fitness remains a concern.One of the more consistent sides of IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad, lost before the final hurdle, going down to runners-up Delhi Capitals in the Qualifier 2 last year.SRH will be bolstered by the return of senior India pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar who played just four games in last year’s IPL in the UAE due to a hip injury.

Fresh from his fine form during the white-ball leg of the England series at home, Bhuvneshwar will spearhead their attack with yorker specialist T Natrajan by his side.Add Afghan star spinner Rashid Khan to the bowling lineup and the ‘Orange Army’ looks prepared with the balance of a perfect attack.

However, the real strength of SRH will be their destructive top-order with the duo of David Warner and in-form Jonny Bairstow. They also have Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey, forming a solid top four.Wriddhiman Saha also opened for SRH last year as the wicketkeeper-batsman and will look to prove a point after being sidelined because of Rishabh Pant’s heroics in the national team.

Buit remains to be seen who will play the role of the finisher for the SRH as they seem to lack muscle power teams badly need in the last five overs.All in all, KKR have a slight edge head-to-head as the Purple Brigade lead 12-7 against the Orange Army and last year they won both their matches against them.

Here is a full list of both squads:

KKR: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Tim Seifert, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Sandeep Warrier, Prasidh Krishna, Rahul Tripathi, Varun Chakravarthy, Shakib Al Hasan, Sheldon Jackson, Vaibhav Arora, Harbhajan Singh, Karun Nair, Ben Cutting, Venkatesh Iyer and Pawan Negi.

SRH: David Warner (C), Kane Williamson, Virat Singh, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Sreevats Goswami, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Kedar Jadhav, J Suchit, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddharth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Shahbaz Nadeem and Mujeeb ur Rahman.

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