They say T20 is a batsman’s game and they are right. But Samuel Badree takes a hattrick and the next day there’s a game between teams with bowling attacks worth paying to watch. Step forward defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) and Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR).
Both have the arsenal to make the white ball swing and spin on an Eden wicket where on Thursday, the batsmen enjoyed the ball coming nicely on and bowlers liked the pace, bounce and movement available.
Suited for pace
“We sensed it was going to have pace and bounce, given KKR’s strategy of securing the fast bowlers at the auction. If pace bowlers pitch it in the right areas, they are going to be rewarded,” said Sunrisers Hyderabad coach Tom Moody here on Friday.
For the Knights, Umesh Yadav is now bowling better than he has in a long while. Trent Boult has sprayed it occasionally but Colin de Grandhomme hit the ground running on Thursday, claiming Hashim Amla and conceding only one in his maiden over in the eight-wicket win over Kings XI Punjab.
The Sunrisers too come well-stocked in the pace department for Saturday’s clash.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman would walk into any IPL team. Then, there’s Ashish Nehra with international experience of nearly 16 years in his craft.
Moody accepted that one of their strengths “has been bowling…We feel we have an attack that’s versatile enough to adapt to different conditions. We hope to maintain reputation as a good bowling side, but also build on the batting. We’re a slightly different team than last year. It’s more balanced.”
Since dew won’t be an issue, spin could provide an interesting sideshow. “It turned a little without it being alarming. It bounced too which spinners like,” said Moody about the match between KKR and Kings XI Punjab.
“The wicket won’t be as lively as at night, so spin would definitely be a factor,” said Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper David Warner.
Before Sunil Narine blazed with the bat --- “I don’t think I’ve ever seen him as vocal in training as we found out while batting atop the order,” said KKR assistant coach Simon Katich --- he bowled economically and dismissed Marcus Stoinis.
“You’ve got to respect what he (Narine) has done. KKR’s attack is centred around Narine trying to apply the squeeze…,” said Moody.
Piyush Chawla got turn after beginning with a googly that foxed Manan Vohra. Kuldeep Yadav, who was dropped on Thursday, has already got three wickets and Shakib Al Hasan hasn’t yet played.
On form, Rashid Khan would be one of the first names a coach pencils in. He is quick, has control, and batsmen are finding it tough to pick which way it is turning, said Moody.
The ball would still go into orbit but it is possible that bowlers wouldn’t rather wish they weren’t at Eden on Saturday.