Kolkata Knight Riders have finished in the top four in each of their last three seasons but failed to reach the final and build on their two previous titles so they will be targeting success this year as they kick off against last year’s runners-up from Hyderabad.
They have been dealt a blow by the loss of fast bowler Anrich Nortje who was expected to make his IPL debut but he misses the tournament so they will rely on Harry Gurney and Lockie Ferguson who are equally inexperienced to provide them with pace bowling.
The positive news however is that Sunil Narine has recovered from a finger injury to play and he will form a fearsome spin pairing with Kuldeep Yadav, and they will have all their overseas stars available with no international call-ups affecting them.
Coach: Tom Moody
Captain: Kane Williamson
Sunrisers Hyderabad were runners-up last year but will be desperate to go one further this time around as they have managed to retain and they too are able to count upon their full squad for this opening match in Kolkata.
The biggest question mark for the Sunrisers will be which four of their overseas talents will start this opening match but one would expect David Warner, Kane Williamson and Rashid Khan to be three certainties with either Jonny Bairstow or Mohammad Nabi taking the final spot.
The bowling unit is arguably the best in the tournament with Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Basil Thampi and Khaleel Ahmed forming a strong unit that will be key to their hopes in IPL 2019 and in this opening match against KKR.
This match between the Knight Riders and Sunrisers promises to be a blockbuster even at this early stage of the tournament. Both teams are expected to compete for a top four place and there is plenty of star quality in both teams. So much depends on which team hits the ground running and there is very little to choose between them in previous meetings with KKR edging that nine wins to six. Home advantage may give them the edge, but the Sunrisers bowling unit is superb and may be the decisive factor if they start well.
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