Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunday October 18, 11:00
Morgan in charge
It was an interesting decision to appoint Eoin Morgan as captain in place of Dinesh Karthik and one I thoroughly agree with.
Not only is Morgan an excellent captain but being an important batsman and wicket-keeper is a hard enough job without having to lead the team as well.
Not that it made much difference on Friday. There wasn’t too much wrong with Kolkata’s total but when you have a player in the form that Quinton de Kock was in, it almost doesn’t matter who the captain is. What followed was a comprehensive win for Mumbai and that certainly wasn’t down to Morgan.
Still, they’re fourth at the time of writing and certainly not out of it but they’ll need more from their big players like Andre Russell, Morgan himself and Karthik if they’re to make the Play-offs. None of those three has been at their best yet.
The Williamson-shaped elephant in the room
The Sunrisers have had a good break since losing to CSK at the start of the week to think about where things have gone wrong.
Maybe it’s just me but it’s pretty obvious that they’re making a crucial mistake in their team selection. I love Kane Williamson as a Test and ODI batsman and his captaincy and general attitude to cricket is fantastic and refreshing but he’s certainly no T20 Number 4. To be fair to him, he’s done his best in terms of taking far more risks than he normally does and playing some unorthodox shots; he’s embraced the role well.
The problem is the imbalance his presence creates. I’m not sure I can remember a single IPL team playing three overseas batsmen in the Top 4 with success and the obvious move would be to bring in Mohammad Nabi for him. Bat him at four or five and get four good overs out of him. But the Sunrisers clearly don’t see things that way.
I’m a little surprised that KKR are favourites here. They’re only two points better off in the table and for my money the Sunrisers are the slightly better side, especially if they make that change of replacing Williamson with Nabi.
I guess part of the explanation is that KKR are 14-11 up on the head-to-head record over the years and that they beat them quite convincingly the first time they played three weeks ago but I’m not sure that’s reason enough. New day, new game.
If I was to play this market, I’d be going with the Sunrisers as slight outsiders but I think we can get better value elsewhere.
Pat Cummins played a remarkable innings last time out to be crowned KKR top batsman with 53 off 35, his first-ever T2-0 fifty. If you fancy a repeat of that you can get 25/1 about the big Aussie. It’s not that ridiculous to think that KKR could have another batting meltdown and that he has plenty of time at the crease to get to 30 or 40, which could end up being enough. Then again, that fifty was his first-ever in T20 cricket like we just said and he bats at seven or eight so you’d have to be pretty fortunate to be on him and for lightning to strike twice.
I prefer Dinesh Karthik at 11/2. I think part of the reasoning behind him being relieved of the captaincy was that he could take more responsibility with the bat and last time out he batted at four. That’s a big price for a player of his ability batting in that position and it will do me just fine.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Rashid Khan is an awful price at 6/4 to be SRH top bowler.
He’s obviously going to take a few wickets because he’s a brilliant player but most batsmen are just happy to not get out to him and don’t look to do much else other than just pick up singles off him.
Khaleel Ahmed is fairly priced at but I prefer Sandeep Sharma at 4/1. He bowled beautifully last time out to take 2-13 and could go pretty close again.