CHENNAI : After just four matches, a hip injury ruled him out of the IPL last season. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar is ready for a long haul in the 14th edition. The Uttar Pradesh pacer has always been a vital cog in Sunrisers Hyderabad’s line-up but given his recent form with the white ball, he is expected to be their trump card along with another ace death bowler T Natarajan.
Despite a sluggish start, the 2016 champions made it to the playoffs in 2020. The David Warner-led side, however, will look to hit the ground running when they take on Kolkata Knight Riders at the MA Chidambaram Stadium on Sunday and the medium pacer can give them the desired start with his incisive swing bowling. “It is great that Bhuvi is back. He has had a fantastic series against England. We have a lot of depth in bowling and firepower in batting,” skipper Warner said on SRH Twitter handle ahead of their opener.
The 31-year-old was in excellent form against England in the recently-concluded ODI and T20I series. He claimed six wickets in three ODIs and finished with an economical spell of 2/15 in the last match helping India pocket the five-match T20I series.
Hyderabad will play their first five matches in Chennai and next four in Delhi and the Aussie opener said slow pitches at the venues will suit his team. “We are playing in Chennai and Delhi in our first 8 or 9 games. The wickets there will be a tad slow which will suit our style of play,” said Warner.
Battle of bowlers
Since their inception in 2013, Hyderabad have made it past the group stage every year except 2014 and 2015. Besides winning the title in 2016, they finished runners-up two years later after going down to Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash.
Credit should be given to the bowlers for SRH’s consistency in the league. Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who has taken more than 17 wickets in all the four editions he has played in the IPL, has been their mainstay in the bowling department and he along with Bhuvneshwar, Sandeep Sharma and Jason Holder can make life difficult for any batting line-up.
Kolkata outfit, on the other hand, also have useful T20 bowlers in their ranks. Australian quick Pat Cummins will spearhead their attack with young guns Shivam Mavi and Prasidh Krishna to his company. Spinner Sunil Narine though has struggled for form in recent times but the Caribbean, along with Varun Chakravarthy, can make full use of the slow Chepauk wicket to swing the game in their team’s favour.
SRH VS KKR
Outsiders seek good start
Both Kolkata and Hyderabad suffered because of prominent issues in 2020. Sunday’s match is an opportunity is an opportunity to see if they have worked towards fixing them...
Kolkata’s top-order was a revolving door last season. Not many performed at the top of the order and the middle-order was frequently asked to do repair work from inside the power play. Not the ideal scenario in T20s.
All eyes on Cummins & Bhuvi
While the former struggled for rhythm, the latter played only four games. They have since performed admirably for their countries. Can they now bring that form for their respective franchises?