The third match of the IPL 2021, KKR vs SRH, saw the Kolkata Knight Riders clinch a thrilling 10-run victory to give themselves an early lead in the tournament. Having struggled with their opening partnership last season - something that contributed heavily to their failure to reach the playoffs - the Knight Riders announced themselves in 2021 with a massive opening partnership of 53 runs. Nitish Rana's top knock of 80, along with Rahul Tripathi's 53, meant that KKR sent back what is considered to be one of the best bowling sides of the IPL, with 187 runs to chase.
Choosing to bowl first after winning the toss for the KKR vs SRH game, Sunrisers Hyderabad captain David Warner's first night at the IPL 2021 began with a litany of errors. The most shocking of these errors came right at the toss when Warner revealed that the 2018 Orange Cap winner, Kane Williamson would not be a part of the team's playing XI for the game. With only four overseas players allowed in the XI, the team management picked Warner, England's Jonny Bairstow and the Afghan pair of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.
Much like last year, the SRH team has been unable to strike a proper balance between domestic and international players, with Warner/Bairstow and Nabi/Rashid taking precedence over Williamson. With a rather underperforming middle order, the team is known to flounder when - like in this match against KKR - their openers do not do the bulk of the scoring. As such, with Warner and his new opening partner Wriddhiman Saha falling within the first three overs, SRH were almost certainly done for this match.
Despite that, team veterans Manish Pandey and Jonny Bairstow gave the Orange Army something to cheer about as they put on a magnificent partnership of 92 runs off 67 balls. After Bairstow's dismissal in the 13th over, the team sent out Mohammad Nabi who put on just 14, while No.5 Vijay Shankar made a paltry 11 off 7, dashing hopes for the side. In a last dash effort, SRH's 2020 find, Abdul Samad hit Pat Cummins for two sixes, leaving everyone wondering why he hadn't been called in earlier in the innings instead of when the team needed a tough 38 off 12 balls.
While there's no doubt that the Sunrisers will take a good look at their strategy for their next game against the Royal Challengers Bangalore on April 14, there is still a chance that Williamson might not play just yet. As coach Trevor Bayliss explained in a press conference, the Kiwi skipper is coming off a harsh injury and will need some time to be match fit again. Here's how fans reacted to Williamson's non-inclusion in the match:
Steve Smith to Kane Williamson pic.twitter.com/FYQTNOhe1b— ѕαrcαѕtíc_kαmαl❤🇮🇳 (@13Sarcastic) April 11, 2021
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