SRH v KKR: Time for Rana to open

IPL 2021: SRH v KKR Game Plan 1 – It’s time for Rana the Opener

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SRH v KKR – The 3rd match of the 2021 season of the IPL will see the clash of two heavyweights (SRH v KKR), the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai on the 11th of April 2020. Before the two sides take on each other, we look at some of the most important matchups and the strategies that these two sides could incorporate to emerge on the right side of the game.

SRH v KKR: KKR and their unsettled batting order

The Kolkata Knight Riders are one lineup that boasts of some of the greatest T20 batsmen of this era and yet have been ineffective with their approach. KKR to everyone’s surprise went on to record the lowest batting score for a team that batted out their entire quota of 20 overs in the previous edition of the IPL. With the likes of Morgan, Dinesh Karthik, and Andre Russell in the team, you expect them to deliver better than this.

What’s up with Rana and his batting position?  

KKR last time made too many experiments with the batting position of Nitish Rana. The southpaw batted at three different positions last year and ended up making the most of it when he was made to open.

 

 

SRH v KKR: How to get the best out of Nitish Rana in the KKR line-up?

The elegant left-hander has batted at number 3 and 4 (combined) in 45 of his 55 games in the IPL. Last year when Rana was asked to open the innings, he scored 168 runs in 4 innings at an average of 42 and a handsome strike rate of 144.83. KKR last year had struggled to get going in the powerplay phase. They scored at 7.093 runs per over losing a wicket for every 20.20 balls. KKR have the slowest scoring rate and the second lowest balls per wicket in the powerplay as compared to the other teams in the IPL 2020. Rana when opening the innings has scored at the rate of 8.68 RPO and has given his wicket away in every 29 balls and this makes a serious case for Rana to open the innings and take control of the powerplay straight away.

 

 

Rana and his favorable matchups:

Sandeep Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar are most likely to start with the new ball for SRH. Rana has had a great run against Sandeep Sharma and with Bhuvneshwar Kumar not having troubled Rana much in the past, Rana would be waiting to crack the opening spot in the game against SRH. In the last three years, Sandeep has never dismissed Rana and Rana strikes at a rate of 195.2 against Sandeep. Bhuvneshwar has dismissed Rana just once in the last 3 years and Rana has looked convincing.

N Rana vs Sandeep Sharma in IPL 2018-2020

Runs: 41

Balls Faced: 21

Dismissals: 0

Average: NA

Strike Rates: 195.2

 

READ: Harshal Patel show in RCB win

SRH v KKR – Match up game: Rana vs Rashid

A left-handed batsman against a leg spinner is one of the most talked-about matchups in T20 cricket. Rana has had a fair share of success against one of the masters of this trade, Rashid Khan.

N Rana vs Rashid Khan in IPL 2018-2020

Runs: 50

Balls Faced: 36

Dismissals: 1

Average: 50

Strike Rates: 138.9

 

Rana has scored 50 runs at a rate of 138.9 being dismissed only once in the 36 balls of Rashid Khan he has faced in the last 3 years. That’s a very fair record against Rashid Khan who is known for breaking the games in the middle overs. KKR would want Rana to bat as long as the 14th over and take upon the favorable matchups so that the batting powerhouse below him can take full control of the last 6 overs.

 

Rana looks to have good numbers against the three main bowlers of the SRH side. Is there someone against whom he has struggled a bit? Yes! A surprise package in Vijay Shankar awaits Rana. Shankar has bowled 12 balls to Rana conceding just 13 runs and has got him out once. So it won’t come as a surprise if the captain throws the ball to Vijay Shankar to bowl a couple of overs.

SRH v KKR – Dinesh Karthik the finisher 

Dinesh Karthik has been doing the finishing duties in this format for a very long time now. Going around, he has established himself as one of the best pace hitters in the world at the moment. But the Knight Riders were way too flexible with his batting position which resulted in him having an awful season with the bat.

Where should Dinesh Karthik ideally bat?

T20 as we all know is not a game of position but a game of entry points. Dinesh Karthik has the ability to strike the ball hard from the work go and hence his entry point can be delayed. His struggle against spinners was evident last year and by looking at the range he has got against pacers, he is ideally suited to enter into the stage during the last 5 overs and the numbers also suggest the same.

SRH v KKR – Dinesh Karthik in the last 3 years when his entry point is after the 15th over:

Runs: 122

Balls Faced: 62

Dismissals: 2

Average: 61

Strike Rates: 196.8

Dot Ball %: 14.52

 

Dinesh Karthik also has a favorable matchup in Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Dinesh Karthik vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar in IPL 2018-2020

Runs: 26

Balls Faced: 18

Dismissals: 1

Average: 26

Strike Rates: 144.4

 

Kumar has been the main death bowler for SRH and Dinesh Karthik has got a fair record against him in SRH v KKR games. Dinesh Karthik against Bhuvneshwar Kumar has struck at a rate of 144.4 in the last 3 years having been dismissed only once.

We have talked about Dinesh Karthik the finisher, but there is one other man who can take any bowler to cleaners on his day and it is none other than KKR’s most trusted all-rounder Andre Russell. Russell has got terrific numbers against Bhuvneshwar and he will make a great pair along with Karthik to take care of the finishing duties in the game against SRH.

 

Andre Russell vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar in IPL 2018-2020

Runs: 35

Balls Faced: 13

Dismissals: 1

Average: 35

Strike Rates: 269.2

Russell has struck at a rate of 269.2 against Kumar having been dismissed just once in the 13 deliveries that he has faced. It should also be noted that T Natarajan, the break-out death bowler of the orange army last season has dismissed Russell once in the 3 balls that he has bowled to him conceding just 2 runs.

Looking at the bigger picture, the Knight Riders are one side who are over dependant on their world-class batting unit to deliver for them, whereas the Sunrisers have been one side who have ridden on their bowling strength. In the clash of these two contrastingly balanced units, the Knight Riders dominate the matchup charts and are likely to have a good game with the bat.

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Taking strides as a cricket data analyst. I record my observations in the form of words and graphs.