HYDERABAD: As Sunrisers Hyderabad gear up for their first home match, they face a problem of plenty on the bowling front despite having a key figure ruled out. Ashish Nehra will miss at least two games because of injury. The Sunrisers are still in a fix to pick the XI against Kolkata Knight Riders.
Kiwi fast bowler Trent Boult is most likely to fill in for Nehra, and Barinder Sran or Abhimanyu Mithun could make the cut to bring balance to the attack. Winning is important for the home team after defeat on the road against Royal Challengers Bangalore in their first match.
“Nehra is an impact player, and to not have him in the team will be a blow to us. But we were always prepared for this kind of situation. We have very good back-up bowlers who are confident to take over from where Nehra left,” said Tom Moody, head coach of the Sunrisers.
The pitch at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium is expected to be good for batting and might also offer assistance to spinners. The Hyderabad outfit could experiment with another spinner alongside Karn Sharma. Other than the leg-spinner with four international caps, they don’t have specialist spinners with experience at the top level.
“The pitch looks like a batting beauty. Having an extra spinner in Karn will be an added advantage. We might go with Bipul Sharma, who is an asset to the team. We also rely on the bowling abilities of Deepak Hooda,” said Moody.
On the flip side, the batting of Sunrisers may take a hit with Eoin Morgan likely to make way for the extra bowler. That puts more responsibility on the shoulders of Shikhar Dhawan, who looked out of sorts in the first match.
“Dhawan is an outstanding player. It’s just been one game till now and we cannot judge his form. He is definitely going to come good very soon,” Moody added.
As for Kolkata Knight Riders, they find themselves in a similar situation as their opponents.
Replete with spinners, it will be a tough call for skipper Gautam Gambhir to pick the best from the options.
“It’s actually really good to have so many bowling options. At the end of the day, it’s the bowlers who are going to win us the games. Even at the auctions, it was a conscious effort to pick these bowlers,” said Gambhir, whose team started with a win before losing the second.
Hyderabad vs Kolkata
Pros & Cons
Sunrisers are missing key bowler Ashish Nehra for the clash, but all departments of the team should step up if they are to beat the Knight Riders. Their batting woes resurfaced in the previous game, and though they finished with 182 in a chase of 227, they kept losing wickets. KKR too will be keen to bounce back from their loss in the previous game. Their middle-order hasn’t had much time in the middle.
Pitch & Conditions
The pitch at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium at Uppal has usually aided batsmen. Hyderabad has been reeling under a heat wave of late and another hot evening is expected for the match.
Key player: David Warner
Pushed to the middle-order by Australia during the WT20, Warner struggled, but was back in the groove in Sunrisers’ previous game. The aggressive opener struck 58 off 25 balls against RCB and will hope to give SRH another great start.