KKR vs SRH Preview: Kolkata face golden boy Pat Cummins-led Hyderabad

Match 3 of the 2024 Indian Premier League (IPL) will see Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) lock horns on March 23, Saturday, at the iconic Eden Gardens in Kolkata.

KKR, who didn’t have a great season in 2023, will have the services of Shreyas Iyer this time as the star Indian batter making his return to the side after missing the 2023 season owing to injury. In his absence Nitish Rana took the mantle of captaincy.

Rana was impressive with the bat in the middle-order but did not excel as a skipper as KKR failed to reach the playoffs, finishing seventh in the points table. He will now serve as the vice captain of the side and will be looking to play his natural game to aid his commander in Iyer.

KKR’s lineup is bolstered by several players, including Rinku Singh, who emerged as a rising star in the previous edition. Since Jason Roy and N Jagadeesan are out of the tournament, Rahmanulla Gurbaz will get a new opening partner. Venkatesh Iyer is the potential contender who could open alongside Gurbaz. Meanwhile, West Indies all-rounders Sunil Narine and Andre Russell might play their part if they get a spot in the lineup. Ace Australian pacer, Mitchell Starc, who was bought for a staggering INR 24.75 crores, will be one to watch out for with the new ball.

SRH, on the other hand, acquired the services of the Australian captain Pat Cummins for a hefty sum of INR 20.50 crore during the IPL 2024 mini-auction. Cummins has taken over the captaincy from South African batter Aiden Markram. It is worth noting that the 2016 champions have had a forgettable campaign finishing at the bottom of the points table.

Apart from Cummins, SRH have acquired the services of ace Sri Lankan spin-all rounder Wanindu Hasaranga. He is expected to do wonders with his leg-break bowling for the team. Meanwhile, Abhishek Sharma and Washington Sundar are joined by Shahbaz Ahmed to strengthen the squad.

SRH’s middle-order can feature the likes of Markram, Glenn Phillips, and Heinrich Klaasen. Cummins will lead the pace attack for SRH, consisting of veteran Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jayadev Unadkat, T Natarajan, and Umran Malik. However, their major concern is the lack of fast bowling options.

Head to Head

Pitch Report

The pitch at the Eden Garnes in Kolkata is generally batting-friendly. Spinners and slower bowlers will also find some assistance which can be turned out as a game-changing phase in the game. The average first innings score at this venue is 192. Meanwhile, out of the seven matches played at the venue in IPL 2023, four were won by teams batting first. Therefore, the toss-winning captain is likely to opt to bat first.

Probable Playing XI

Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)

Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Venkatesh Iyer, Shreyas Iyer (c), Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Mitchell Starc, Chetan Sakariya, Varun Chakravarthy, Suyash Sharma.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)

Mayank Agarwal, Travis Head, Aiden Markram, Abhishek Sharma, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Abdul Samad, Washington Sundar, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Pat Cummins (c), Umran Malik, Mayank Markande