Contrary to slam-bang cricket that is mostly associated with the shortest format of the game, SRH are mostly banking on partnerships to cross the line. They will again look for another good start from their skipper and Abhishek Sharma to score a hat-trick of wins when they meet Kolkata Knight Riders at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai on Friday.
The SRH opening pair is the key to the team’s fortune. The side lost twice when they were dismissed inside the Powerplay and won two games when the duo got the team off to a good start. Skipper Williamson is leading from the front absorbing most of the pressure with his calm approach. The main task of the KKR‘s bowling unit will thus be to see the back of both as soon as possible. The team management will also not like to see a repeat of what the Delhi Capitals’ openers Prithvi Shaw and David Warner did to them in the last game.
But SRH do not have a long tail and KKR head coach Brendon McCullum will like to see his bowlers come hard at their rivals right from the word go.
The Shreyas Iyer-led side will have the advantage of knowing the Brabourne track better than SRH where the latter will play their first match on Friday. All the matches at this venue have turned out to be high-scoring ones and the side having more power-hitters is likely to enjoy the edge. KKR definitely are ahead on this front, but they would require to fire in unison.
The SRH have so far chased targets and did well when it stayed in the range of 160-170 r uns. So it will be interesting to see how good their batters are while posting or chasing a 180-plus total, which is more like a par score at Brabourne.
Australian T20 skipper Aaron Finch joining the side has given rise to a selection dilemma for KKR. With Ajinkya Rahane failing to provide good starts so far, Finch could easily replace him at the top. But in that case the axe must fall on Sam Billings as Pat Cummins, Sunil Narine and Andre Russell will remain the obvious three foreigners in their playing XI. Going by Billings’ form, it will be a tough call.
The injury to Washington Sundar couldn’t have come at a worse time for SRH who look soft in the spin department. Not only was Sundar doing the job well in the middle overs, the team lost a floating batter.