The Indian Premier League (IPL) has kicked off for 2019 and we’ll be providing coverage of selected games that are going to be broadcast at suitable times for most Australian viewers.
Two teams that are bound to feature in the top-four picks of most of the analysts, will start their Indian Premier League campaign at the iconic Eden Gardens on Sunday. Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) are chasing down a fourth consecutive playoff berth and should provide a good spectacle. The action kicks off at 9:30pm AEDT Sunday night on Fox Sports in Australia.
KKR have won six of their last ten matches against SRH and more importantly, five of their seven at this venue. However, their two losses have come in the last season – a boost to SRH’s hopes of upsetting the hosts.
Kolkata have a settled squad at their disposal, led by Dinesh Karthik. They have added imports Joe Denly and Carlos Brathwaite to the roster this season. The most exciting addition, however, has to be Harry Gurney – the journeyman T20 cricketer who recently won the Big Bash with Melbourne Renegades.
It is their bowling, though, that gives KKR an edge with Sunil Narine and Kuldeep Yadav forming a spin nexus that will be tough to breach. Andre Russell’s power hitting gives them a new dimension, but the absence of a solid top-order batsman could trouble the Knight Riders.
The Sunrisers are a team without any local superstars, but their ensemble of players makes them an envious side. The return of David Warner gives them extra firepower which should provide some interest for Australian fans, while Martin Guptill and Jonny Bairstow make them dangerous in the top order. Even their middle order looks solid with the likes of Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey and Mohammad Nabi forming a strong unit.
SRH’s bowling is probably the best of the IPL franchises – Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan and Siddharth Kaul make them a very strong side. The balance of the squad is excellent and that makes them a tough team to face.
Another Aussie in action for KKR is Chris Lynn and he is an exciting batsman to have at the top of the order - his battle with Hyderabad’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar could be the pick of the match. The winner of the battle could well determine the winner of the game!
Andre Russell brings a lot of firepower to the Knight Riders’ middle-order, and his tussle with Rashid Khan will be a fascinating contest. Both are vital for their team’s chances.
David Warner is just coming off a big break from cricket, and is keen to make up for the absence with a good IPL series. He may not have it easy though, as Kolkata’s Kuldeep Yadav will try to get one over him early.
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