Abu Dhabi: Much was expected from Kolkata against Mumbai Indians (MI), but it seemed Karthik did not learn from his past mistakes.
Once again, the batting position of KKR’s biggest hitter Andre Russell became the talking point after the 49-run loss versus Mumbai.
Jamaican Russell, who was Kolkata’s highest run-getter last season with 510 runs, was sent in at No.6 while chasing a huge total. But, by the time he came in, the task had become extremely difficult.
Karthik will have a huge call to make against Hyderabad as Russell is capable of taking the game away from any opposition in quick time.
Eoin Morgan, who was brought in to bolster the middle-order, could not do much at No.5 last time around. The World Cup-winning captain would hope to return to form soon. KKR skipper Karthik went in with a defensive strategy even while bowling.
Sunil Narine was brought into the attack only on the last over of the powerplay, by which time his ‘bunny’ Rohit Sharma had settled in the middle. Fast bowler Pat Cummins, who was KKR’s biggest buy at the auction, had a bad first outing and will aim to come back strongly.
Kolkata’s opponent Hyderabad lacked strength and experience in the middle-order during its loss against Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB). Needing just 43 runs from the final five overs, SRH lost its last seven wickets for a mere 32 runs.
Captain David Warner, after being run out in an unfortunate manner at the non-striker’s end, will be keen to get into the act, while it remains to be seen whether Kane Williamson has recovered from his injury.
The think tank may bring in Mohammed Nabi to bowl alongside his compatriot Rashid Khan, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar spearheading the pace attack. Having lost their respective opening matches, both teams will go all out to open their account.