IPL KKR vs SRH | Shreyas, Gambhir’s return should be a catalyst for KKR

IPL KKR vs SRH | Shreyas, Gambhir’s return should be a catalyst for KKR

Feeling good: KKR skipper Shreyas, watched by coach Pandit, says he has been hitting the balls well at practice.
| Photo Credit: DEEPAK KR

The return of two fine leaders, skipper Shreyas Iyer and mentor Gautam Gambhir, and the incentive of beginning its campaign at home after four editions should motivate Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) to give its best against Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the Indian Premier League at the Eden Gardens on Saturday.

Seeking balance, KKR’s quest for its elusive third title began from the auction stage.

The side’s expensive purchase, left-armer Mitchell Starc, will lead the pace department and play a crucial role in PowerPlay and death overs. While the trusted spin duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakravarthy may get priority, KKR will weigh other options.

The batting looks stronger with Shreyas’ return even though there are apprehensions over his fitness. Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana, Rinku Singh, Manish Pandey and Caribbeans Andre Russell and his back-up Sherfane Rutherford bolster it. Keeper-batters Phil Salt, Rahmanullah Gurbaz and K.S. Bharat widen KKR’s range of choice.

Leading a T20 side for the first time, Australian captain Pat Cummins, in SRH colours, will try to prove himself against his old side. He will have the company of known pacers including Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Marco Jansen, Jaydev Unadkat, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik and T. Natarajan.

In spin, SRH may have to rely on Washington Sundar, Mayank Markande and Shahbaz Ahmed in the absence of Wanindu Hasaranga.

Aiden Markram, Travis Head, Heinrich Klassen, Glenn Phillips, Rahul Tripathi, Mayank Agarwal, Abdul Samad and Anmolpreet Singh inspire confidence in batting.

Choosing four foreigners from a wide array of choices will be tough, though. With KKR enjoying the home fans’ strong backing, SRH may find it hard to breach fortress Eden.

The pitch, which remained covered during rains earlier this week, will be a thing to decode for both sides.

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