Kolkata Knight Riders will face-off against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 8th match of the ongoing IPL 2020 season. Both the teams are currently languishing at the bottom of the table after they suffered a loss in their respective IPL openers.
A middle-order batting collapse saw SRH fall to a 10-run loss against the Royal Challengers Bangalore whereas a strong batting showcase by Mumbai Indians meant KKR suffered a crushing 49 run defeat in their first IPL match.
Both teams will be working overtime to secure their first win. While KKR will be hoping to sink their teeth into SRH's fragile middle order, the David Warner-led side will be formulating plans of their own.
Check IPL schedule here.
With some exciting mini battles coming up, here's a look at some of the glaring weaknesses of the purple outfit the SRH will be hoping to target -
#1 Vulnerable spin department for KKR in IPL 2020
KKR's spin department seems considerably weaker this season. With the questionable move of releasing Piyush Chawla, the only established names that remain are Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav.
While the duo can be lethal on their day, the concern is Kuldeep Yadav's form. The 25-year-old has struggled of late, as depicted by his numbers. In IPL 2019, he picked up just four wickets at an economy of 8.66. His troubles seemed to have continued into this year's IPL as well, having leaked 39 runs without a breakthrough against MI.
Chris Green and Varun Chakravarthy are the other spin options in the KKR squad. However, while they are exciting prospects, they are still untested and it is unlikely that they will find a spot in the playing XI.
#2 Sunil Narine's weakness against the short ball
Sunil Narine's stint as an opener has been providing diminishing returns in recent times. The pinch-hitter averaged just over 17 in IPL 2019, a season in which he failed to score a half-century. This meant KKR struggled to get a positive start at the top.
With Robin Uthappa and Chris Lynn no longer in their squad, KKR's batting line-up appears low on experience. The early wicket of Narine will undoubtedly add a lot of pressure onto the young batsmen in the side.
And, it's no secret that Sunil Narine seems to struggle against the short ball, and with Bhuvneshwar Kumar leading the SRH bowling unit, expect the Meerut-born pacer to produce some chin music against the Trinidadian.
#1 Leverage KKR's over-dependence on Andre Russell
Granted, Andre Russell is currently the most feared batsman in the IPL. Granted, he has won the match from impossible situations for KKR. That does not mean that the rest of KKR's batsmen can continue to put him under pressure.
In their IPL 2020, the top order failed to show intent during a daunting 196-run chase, and the batsmen struggled to score freely. When the Jamaican came out to bat, KKR's scoreboard read 77-4 after 11.4 overs. Andre Russell has won matches from such precarious positions in the past, but he could not do it on this occasion.
SRH's focus will be on bowling a tidy line to the inexperienced Kolkata batsmen. If Andre Russell comes out with KKR's inning devoid of momentum, SRH can attempt to tame Andre Russell when he is in damage-control mode.
SRH will take comfort in the fact that they managed to get the big man out early in the last meeting between these two sides during IPL 2019. Andre Russell chose to avoid taking on Rashid Khan by rotating the strike.
Russell was only on a 4-ball 3* when Bhuvenshwar Kumar came on to bowl the 19th over. Andre Russell dispatched him for two huge sixes before a mistimed hit brought about his downfall. Kolkata Knight Riders could only manage 159/8 in their 20 overs, a total that was chased down within 15 overs by SRH.
So, in essence, Russell is undoubtedly KKR's biggest trump card. If SRH manage to pick up quick wickets and bring the big Jamaican onto the crease early, they've got a good chance of gaining an upper hand.Published 26 Sep 2020, 10:19 IST