High-flying KKR face SRH, eye hat-trick of wins

Kolkata, Apr 13 (PTI):
On a high after Rinku Singh’s phenomenal knock, Kolkata Knight Riders will be gunning for a hat-trick of victories when they face a resurgent Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League here on Friday.
Having started off their campaign with a reversal against Punjab Kings at Mohali, KKR found two unlikely heroes in two matches to get their campaign up and running.
First, it was Shardul Thakur’s storm with the bat that took a star-studded Royal Challengers Bangalore by surprise as the pace bowling allrounder’s 29-ball 68 led KKR to their first win of the season, a dominant 81-run victory.
Then the low-profile Rinku has become the flavour of the season after pulling off the greatest heist in T20 history by scoring 31 runs in the last over to win a match.
KKR defeated the reigning champions Gujarat Titans by three wickets in their den, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, courtesy Rinku’s astonishing power-hitting.
The two-time former champions, who were hit hard by the absence of their skipper Shreyas Iyer and star allrounder Shakib-Al-Hasan and were written off by many following a low-key auction, suddenly have become the side to beat this season.
That the two wins have come without any significant contribution from their star power-hitter Andre Russell and skipper Nitish Rana, make them an even more dangerous side.
As for SRH, the Aiden Markram-led side looks strong on paper after some big buys like Harry Brook, Mayank Agarwal and Heinrich Klaasen at the auction.
Overflowing with white-ball specialists, SRH, however, have failed to impress in their first two matches. However, a Rahul Tripathi special — 48-ball unbeaten 74 — led them to their first win of the season when they defeated Punjab Kings by eight wickets.
Boosted by the win, the Brian Lara-coached side would look to hold on to their winning momentum and give KKR a strong fight at home.
Tripathi will be up against his former team, playing the role of holding the innings together in the middle overs. Tripathi is someone who can rotate the strike in the middle overs and land a counter-attacking punch with his ability to tackle spin.
SRH would be hoping for the likes of Brook and Klaasen to fire and put up a big total.
Match starts: 7.30pm IST.

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