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IPL 2019, Match 2, Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad: Why SRH will win the match

Sahil Jain
ANALYST
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819   //    23 Mar 2019, 16:53 IST

David Warner and Bhuvneshwar Kumar

The great Indian carnival is back with its 12th edition. Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will kickstart their campaign at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in the second game of this IPL. It’s the first afternoon game of the season as well.

While both teams made it to the playoffs last season, SRH beat KKR in the second qualifier but failed to cross the final hurdle. In the three times these two sides met last season, the Kane Williamson-led SRH beat the Dinesh Karthik-led KKR twice.

Both sides have lined up decently this year, but here are reasons why SRH will topple the two-time champs KKR in their respective opening games of this year’s IPL.

A strong and fantastic bowling attack

Sunrisers Hyderabad have been one of the top bowling sides in the IPL in the last few years. They’ve shown that having a strong bowling attack can win you games and tournaments. It was on the back of their bowling might that they won the title back in 2016.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been excellent for SRH in the last few years. He won the Purple Cap twice in a row in 2016 and 2017. Rashid Khan has fit in beautifully and most batsmen around the world are wary of the threat he brings in. Siddarth Kaul has done well too. He picked up 21 wickets last season and filled in really well when Bhuvneshwar missed out due to injury. Meanwhile, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma and Basil Thampi offer them good Indian fast bowling core. And one of them will play alongside Kumar and Kaul.

Shakib Al Hasan is a wily customer and lends solidity with both bat and ball. They could well go in with the extra pace and bounce of Billy Stanlake on what is a relaid Eden Gardens deck which has something in it for the fast bowlers.

Hence, SRH have a strong bowling core and like the last few seasons, possess one of the strongest attacks amongst the eight teams.

The return of David Warner and the possibility of a formidable top three

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David Warner has been one of the most consistent batsmen in the IPL over the last few years. He has scored in excess of 500 runs in every season he’s played since 2014. He won the Orange Cap twice (2015 and 2017) and has been leading the batting charts for the SRH year after year. His return to the top is a big boost.

Moreover, the addition of Jonny Bairstow will add teeth to the side. The England ODI opener has been very consistent over the last couple of years. Hence, he can complement Warner really well at the top. At 3, you have the ever-reliable Kane Williamson who was the Orange Cap winner last season. After Warner’s ban last season, Williamson was handed the captaincy and the New Zealander didn’t disappoint. He led from the front and took SRH to the final. Hence, Warner, Bairstow and Williamson form a formidable top three.

Inexperienced KKR pace attack

The KKR pace attack looks pretty thin on paper. They’ve already lost three of their fast bowlers – Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Shivam Mavi and Anrich Nortje. In fact, they let go of Mitchell Starc and Tom Curran ahead of this season.

KKR now have the likes of Prasidh Krishna and Sandeep Warrier to bank on as far as the Indians are concerned. Meanwhile, Lockie Ferguson and Harry Gurney are the overseas options. That’s quite a bit of inexperience. Moreover, Andre Russell isn’t the same bowler he was after his struggles with a knee injury.

Thus, it is a very inexperienced pace attack and SRH will be looking to exploit that weakness.

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