As the teams clash at Abu Dhabi in the first match on Sunday, neither side would go in with the advantage. In their last match, KKR were handed an 82-run thrashing by RCB. The batting completely fell apart as they crumbled to 61 for 5 taking first strike. They would want the department to tighten things. Shubman Gill is getting runs, but needs to improve his strike rate. Rahul Tripathi has gone off the boil after a good start while Dinesh Karthik, Nitish Rana and Andre Russell just need to start scoring.
Pat Cummins has excelled with the bat. But, ironically he was picked at Rs 15.5 crore for his bowling skills, which haven’t come to the fore yet. Sunil Narine missing games after being reported for a suspect action hasn’t helped the team’s cause. Varun Chakravarthy has done a reasonable job. However, there is uncertainty over the rest of the bowling attack.
Sunrisers also have plenty of issues in both the batting and bowling department. When it comes to runs, they are almost solely reliant on the top four of Jonny Bairstow, David Warner, Manish Pandey and Kane Williamson. And, while Bairstow and Williamson have done well, skipper Warner and Pandey have somehow failed to press the accelerator.
As for their bowling, while T. Natarajan has done a fine job in the absence of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the form of their number one spinner Rashid Khan in the last couple of games is a worry. SRH would be desperate for Rashid to be back among the wickets considering how heavily they depend on him.
Head-to-Head Record: In 18 matches between the two teams, KKR have won 11 and SRH 7.
KKR Predicted XI: Rahul Tripathi, Shubman Gill, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Eoin Morgan (C), Andre Russell, Chris Green/Kuldeep Yadav, Shivam Mavi/Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna and Varun Chakravarthy
SRH Predicted XI: David Warner (C), Jonny Bairstow (WK), Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Priyam Garg, Abhishek Sharma/Vijay Shankar, Shahbaz Nadeem, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma and Khaleel Ahmed
The Abu Dhabi pitch has something in it for both batsmen and bowlers. 160-170 is a par score.
The weather will again be sunny, with the temperature in the mid-30s. Humidity will be above 40 per cent.