Hyderabad have already lost a game against Kolkata this season, and as they square off once again, we could see a payback on the cards.
Two back-to-back defeats for Hyderabad and Kolkata have pushed the teams down the pecking order, and as they prepare to lock horns in the first match of Sunday at Sheikh Zayed Stadium on October 18, expect some fireworks.
The two teams have already met once early in the ongoing Indian T20 League season; a match that saw Shubman Gill and Eoin Morgan taking their side all the way to a thumping seven-wicket win over the 2016 winners. A lot has changed since, especially at Hyderabad, with Williamson walking into the squad and their veteran bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar getting ruled out of the competition.
As for Kolkata, they have always had an upper hand against Hyderabad, having won 11 of their 18 encounters, and will be hoping more of the same on Sunday. Having said that, here are some key figures that you need to keep in mind before the game:
Kolkata’s Powerplay struggles:
Kolkata’s have time and again stumbled to put on a decent score in the Powerplay over this season. Against Mumbai, last time out, the two-time winners scored just 33 runs at a loss of two wickets, taking their tally to a mere 315 runs in the Powerplay overs after eight games; the lowest return by any side this season.
Teams in Powerplay in 2020
Note: Stats prior to Saturday's doubleheaders
Apart from scoring runs, the team has lost 12 wickets during the tenure, with only Rajasthan losing more. Furthermore, the fact that the team is yet to find a balance can be understood by the fact that they have used as many as six players in the top-3 positions, and these players have scored a mere total of 563 runs at a strike rate of 119.53; once again, least by any team’s top 3 in Powerplay.
It is the same story altogether at the other end, as their bowlers, too, have struggled to churn out wickets in the Powerplay. They have picked just six wickets in eight games. In fact, in their last three games, all of their wickets came after the Powerplay overs, further outlining the scope of improvement.
Teams in Powerplay (2020)
Note: Stats prior to Saturday's doubleheaders.
Manish Pandey needs to step up:
Hyderabad batsman Manish Pandey made a blistering start to the 2020 Indian T20 League, scoring a 38-ball 51 against Kolkata in a losing cause, but has since struggled for consistency. He sure has shown glimpses of what he brings to the table but Hyderabad would want him to be more consistent with his batting.
Against Kolkata, he will be watched closely not because they are his former team, but because he hasn’t really enjoyed a fruitful return against them in the Indian T20 League. In his 10 innings against Kolkata, Pandey has scored just 189 runs at an average of 23.62. It is only against Chennai and Bangalore that he has a lower batting average than this. With Jonny Bairstow and David Warner too delivering in patches, Hyderabad will want Manish Pandey to step in, in order to ease the pressure off Kane Williamson’s shoulders.
Players to watch:
Hyderabad - Rashid Khan
Leg-spinner Rashid Khan has been phenomenal for Hyderabad, picking a whopping 25% of his team’s wickets (10/40). Other than Rashid Khan, no other Hyderabad bowler has picked wickets and been economical at the same time. The likes of Thangarasu Natarajan and Khaleel Ahmed, too, have picked wickets but the duo has leaked runs at an economy of 8.27 and 9.73 respectively. Interestingly, the Afghan leggie is the only spinner in this season so far to have bowled a maiden over. What further stands out in his performance is the fact that nine of his 10 wickets have come in the middle overs of the innings (7-15).
Furthermore, the leggie has particularly enjoyed bowling against Kolkata captain Eoin Morgan, who has scored just 18 runs in 23 balls he has faced across three innings while being dismissed once.
Kolkata - Eoin Morgan
Although in a losing cause, Eoin Morgan played a decent partnership with Pat Cummins against Mumbai in what was his first game as a Kolkata captain in the ongoing season. Former captain Dinesh Karthik, who failed to cross double figures in five of his eight innings, recently stepped down from his role, and the reins have come in the safe hands of Eoin Morgan. Scoring at a rate of 42.80, Kolkata will be hoping their new captain can up the ante from this point on.
Stats to watch out for:
0: Hyderabad have not won a game chasing a target in Indian 2020.
1: Sandeep Sharma needs 1 more wicket to complete 100 Indian wickets.
1: Pat Cummins is 1 wicket away from completing 100 wickets in T20s.
17: Runs Russell needs to reach 1500 runs in Indian T20 League.
35: Runs Warner needs to reach 900 runs vs Kolkata in Indian T20 League and will become the 2nd player after Rohit Sharma.
38: Rashid Khan needs 38 runs to complete 1000 runs in T20s.
Despite Kolkata's evident struggle, the team has managed to churn out victories from impossible situations. Hyderabad, on the other hand, have a middle-order as weak as water. This is something Kolkata are well and truly aware of and are certain to target on Sunday. We expect them to do a double over Hyderabad.
Feature image courtesy: AFP / Dibyangshu Sarkar