It is Orange v Purple, Warner v Morgan, as the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) locks horns with the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) in the third league clash of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. SRH in the IPL has been like that disciplined kid, who studies laboriously for the entire year but hardly enough to end at the top of the rankings. That is how a franchise that has qualified without fail for five years in a row but has managed to win the title only once can be best defined as.
By the same analogy, KKR is the student that was hugely interested in studies and lost it gradually. Two titles in a space of three years and they have even failed to qualify in seasons that have followed. With the kind of players they have, there is no reason why KKR cannot better their performances.
For now, David Warner’s men would eye to improve their under-par head-to-head record against KKR, which reads 7-12 in the latter’s favor. But what should an ideal XI for that be? Picking an XI for SRH has always been some task, but the combination underneath seems the best bet for the Orange Army.
Here’s the Predicted Playing XI of Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) for IPL 2021 Match 3:
Openers – David Warner (C), Jonny Bairstow
There can hardly be a pair more destructive and lethal than Warner-Bairstow at the top of the order for any IPL franchise. Their left-right combination and belligerent playing style are good to unsettle the best of bowlers and both the batsmen have proven their credentials batting at the top for their franchise in the tournament.
In a rare off-season last year, Bairstow’s string of low scores led him to lose his position to Wriddhiman Saha. Although after the kind of form he displayed against India in the recent white-ball series, he seems to be a sure starter alongside skipper Warner.
Middle-order – Manish Pandey, Kane Williamson, Priyam Garg
Owing to the many options in their overseas slot, SRH has always been in the soup while picking both Bairstow and Kane Williamson. Should they pick both, they will need their Indian all-rounders to share the burden of bowling out a few overs. Last year, Williamson showed what he is capable of as a death batsman even as not many looked towards him as a finisher: 317 runs at 45.28 and a strike rate of 133.75.
Bringing him in at 4 also provides SRH a chance to play Manish Pandey at his desired spot of number three, where he gets sufficient time to get his eyes in before blasting off towards the end. He had a fairly successful 2020 edition, where he ended with 425 runs from 16 innings at a strike rate of 127.62. If Priyam Garg could come well alongside Pandey and Williamson in the middle-order, SRH’s problem of plenty with their overseas contingent will stand nearly solved.
All-rounders – Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad
The previous edition for Vijay Shankar was a forgettable one as he finished with 97 runs from 7 matches and an injury cut his run short. His performance in 2018 and 2019 (212 runs from 13 games and 244 from 15, respectively) does testify his potential in the position he comes to bat but it is his bowling that continues to concern SRH. Both Bairstow and Williamson in the XI leave no place for Jason Holder, which would require Shankar, the bowler, to step as much as Shankar, the batsman.
Even as Abdul Samad did not have a breakthrough season last time, he proved his merit with a staggering strike rate of 170.76 for 111 runs in the season. Given this is his second season and he comes with some experience behind him, SRH would want him to fire and fire more consistently.
Bowlers – Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma
Bowling has always been SRH’s USP and with the kind of names they possess, the story is not any different this year. SRH lost their mainstay Bhuvneshwar Kumar due to injury in 2020 for the entire season but this time he is back and so in good form. With the brilliance of Sandeep Sharma, who has plenty of variations and is renowned for his discipline, SRH has two stupendously bankable options.
Rashid Khan needs no introduction in the format. He has continued to make batsmen’s life hard ever since he has strode into the scene. From cramping the batsmen for room to a plethora of other variations, Rashid has left an impact on every single tournament that he has been a part of through his nearly unmatched guile. He bagged a whopping 20 wickets from 16 games in the 2020 edition of the IPL at an unreal economy rate of 5.37.
If life gives one a chance, one must grab it as T Natarajan did. From the unknown lands of a remote village of the southern part of the nation, he made an impact hard enough to earn a national call-up. His toil paid off and he became the first Indian to debut in all three formats in a single tour: India’s tour of Australia. After a 16-wicket season from him in 2020, SRH would want their “Nattu” to replicate and set even higher standards this season.
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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