KKR vs SRH Qualifier 1, IPL 2024: Three key matchups to look forward to between Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad

IPL 2024: Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad first qualifier match is a case of a batter-dominant side taking on a team that backs its bowling unit.

Published : May 21, 2024 10:07 IST , CHENNAI - 3 MINS READ

Abhishek Sharma plays a shot against Punjab Kings.
Abhishek Sharma plays a shot against Punjab Kings. | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak / The Hindu
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Abhishek Sharma plays a shot against Punjab Kings. | Photo Credit: K.R. Deepak / The Hindu

The top two of the IPL 2024 league stage, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), will face off in the first qualifier at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

The two will be confronted by a similar predicament as they look to pull off a win and advance to the final of the competition.

Both teams have gained advantage in their games courtesy of explosive batting by their opening pairs. For KKR, it has been Sunil Narine and Phil Salt while SRH has relied on the prowess of southpaws Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head. The Sunrisers pair has added 584 runs in 10 innings while the Knight Riders duo has 559 runs in 12 innings.

LIVE SCORE - KKR vs SRH QUALIFIER 1

In this sense, KKR has ceded its advantage given Salt is no longer a part of KKR due to international duty. In Salt’s absence, the onus will fall on Narine alone to continue in the same vein as he did in through the league stage.

Sunil Narine vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Sunil Narine and Phil Salt in action against Punjab Kings.
Sunil Narine and Phil Salt in action against Punjab Kings. | Photo Credit: AP
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Sunil Narine and Phil Salt in action against Punjab Kings. | Photo Credit: AP

Narine has amassed 461 runs in IPL 2024 at a strike rate of 182.93. Of these, 258 runs have come in the PowerPlay, at a strike rate of just over 173.

The reason for the small dip in his scoring rate is Narine’s preferance for spin. He strikes at nearly 200 against the tweakers as compared to 177 against pacers.

Sunrisers could potentially use Bhuvneshwar Kumar to exploit this chink. The veteran pacer was slow to start off this season but has fired back to form in the last five games.

Bhuvneshwar has bowled to Narine nine times in the IPL, giving away just 28 runs in 25 deliveries and getting him out twice.

Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head vs Sunil Narine

Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma celebrate after winning against Lucknow Super Giants.
Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma celebrate after winning against Lucknow Super Giants. | Photo Credit: PTI
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Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma celebrate after winning against Lucknow Super Giants. | Photo Credit: PTI

Narine will play a crucial role for KKR with the ball too.

On more than one occasions, SRH has settled contests, or at least swung the momentum in its favour, purely due to the exploits of its opening pair.

The side’s run rate has stayed north of 13 runs per over when the duo is at the crease. Individually, both batters have strike rates in excess of 200. They shot down a target of 167 runs against Lucknow Super Giants inside 10 overs during the league stage.

But such has been the brilliance of Narine that KKR has a shot at silencing the menacing pair.

Narine has picked 15 wickets this season and boasts of an economy rate of 6.63. His efficiency goes up against left-handed batters.

In 10 innings, Narine has an economy of 5.14 against left-handers along with five wickets at an average of 12.00. Though, he has operated mostly through the middle overs, the KKR management might ponder getting Narine earlier during the field restrictions.

Heinrich Klaasen vs Varun Chakaravarthy

Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot against Punjab Kings.
Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot against Punjab Kings. | Photo Credit: PTI
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Heinrich Klaasen plays a shot against Punjab Kings. | Photo Credit: PTI

Varun Chakaravarthy has been the second half of the two-pronged KKR spin attack that has choked the run supply for teams in IPL 2024.

At 18 wickets from 13 innings, Varun is among the leading wicket-takers this season. But against Sunrisers Hyderabad, Varun will have a headache in dealing with the brute force of Heinrich Klaasen.

Klaasen’s strike rate this season, which jumps from close to 162 for pacers to nearly 187 against spinners, clearly highlights the South African’s preference for the slower bowlers.

Against Varun in IPL, Klaasen has been on strike for just 12 deliveries across two games and scored 29 runs.

Varun has bowled nearly 37 overs through the middle-stage (overs 7-16) of an innings this season, and Sunrisers could bank on Klaasen and promote him to number three to take on the mystery spinner.

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