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 in Kolkata on April 14, 2023.
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.
While Shardul and Rinku have undoubtedly provided the finishing options, KKR think-tank would be keen to prove that these two wins were not a fluke.
By his standard, Russell, the fearsome Jamaican power-hitter, has looked a shadow of his past, barring a 19-ball 35 in their rain-hit loss to Punjab Kings in their season opener.
With scores of 0 and 1 in the next two matches, Russell would be keen to prove his credentials as he sweated it out during practice ahead of the match on Friday.
KKR have tried out different opening combinations in the three matches so far and it is likely to be changed again against SRH, with England opener Jason Roy likely to be included in place of Rahmanullah Gurbaz.
The Afghanistan player has impressed with a fighting fifty against RCB, but with Roy being included as a replacement for Shakib, the Englishman is likely to be included, while Narayan Jagadeesan may don the wicketkeeping gloves.
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.
The high-profile Brook, who has been signed for Rs 13.25 crore, has so far managed scores of 13, 3 and 13.
A member of the England side that won the T20 World Cup last year, Brook has looked out of sorts in the opener's role, and it would not be a bad idea to bring him down the order.
They also have a potent spin attack in Washington Sundar and Mayank Markande, fresh from his 4/15 against Punjab Kings, while the pace attack, led by Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Marco Jansen, will give KKR a tough fight.
A win for KKR, currently placed third, may take them to the top of the table.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Nitish Rana (c), Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Venkatesh Iyer, Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Shardul Thakur, Lockie Ferguson, Umesh Yadav, Tim Southee, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy, Anukul Roy, Rinku Singh, N. Jagadeesan, Vaibhav Arora, Suyash Sharma, David Wiese, Kulwant Khejroliya, Litton Das, Mandeep Singh and Jason Roy.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Aiden Markram (c), Abdul Samad, Rahul Tripathi, Glenn Phillips, Abhishek Sharma, Marco Jansen, Washington Sundar, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Kartik Tyagi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, T. Natarajan, Umran Malik, Harry Brook, Mayank Agarwal, Heinrich Klaasen, Adil Rashid, Mayank Markande, Vivrant Sharma, Samarth Vyas, Sanvir Singh, Upendra Yadav, Mayank Dagar, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Akeal Hosein and Anmolpreet Singh.
Match starts: 7.30pm IST.