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IPL 2024: Qualifier 1 (KKR vs SRH) – 3 Player Battles To Watch Out For
By CricShots - May 20, 2024 11:13 pm
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The stage is set for a high-voltage clash in Ahmedabad as the top two teams of IPL 2024, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), face off in the first qualifier on May 21st. Both teams are just a win away from securing a spot in the finals, scheduled for May 26th in Chennai.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Bhuvneshwar Kumar

KKR, led by the in-form Shreyas Iyer, have enjoyed a well-deserved break after their last two matches were washed out. They will look to capitalize on their top spot on the table and book a direct ticket to the finals, aiming for their third IPL title.

ALSO READ: Qualifier 1 (KKR vs SRH) – Playing XI and Fantasy XI Predictions

SRH, on the other hand, are riding high on their impressive win against Punjab Kings that propelled them to the second position, displacing Rajasthan Royals. Captain Kane Williamson will be determined to lead his team to a strong start and secure a crucial victory in Ahmedabad.

Here are three key player battles that could significantly impact the outcome of this crucial encounter:

#1. T Natarajan vs Andre Russell

Andre Russell
Andre Russell

T Natarajan, has emerged as a vital cog in their bowling attack. His ability to deliver pinpoint yorkers and slower deliveries in the death overs makes him a real threat. Standing on the other side is the explosive Andre Russell, boasting a phenomenal IPL 2024 strike rate of 185.

The clash between these two will be fascinating. While Russell has dominated Natarajan historically, scoring 43 runs off 26 balls with only one dismissal in their previous encounters, the pressure of a knockout match can change the equation.

#2 Travis Head vs Mitchell Starc

travis head
Travis Head

Australian teammates, Travis Head and Mitchell Starc, will find themselves on opposite sides in this high-voltage encounter. Head has been in phenomenal form this season, often dismantling bowling attacks with his aggressive batting. His ability to score quickly puts immense pressure on the opposition.

For KKR, Mitchell Starc will be their trump card against Head. Having witnessed Arshdeep Singh’s success against Head in the previous match, dismissing him for a golden duck, Starc will look to replicate that strategy.

#3 Sunil Narine vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar

Sunil Narine
Sunil Narine

While KKR might miss Phil Salt’s explosiveness at the top, the experience of Sunil Narine remains crucial. At 35, Narine has been a vital cog in KKR’s batting lineup, scoring over 461 runs this season and providing them with solid starts. One more big knock from Narine on his 36th birthday (coincidentally, the day of the finals) could be the difference-maker for KKR.

Standing against Narine will be the equally experienced Bhuvneshwar Kumar. The 34-year-old pacer has rediscovered his magical swing, making him a potent threat with the new ball. The battle between Narine and Kumar in the powerplay overs will be a crucial phase, as both players hold the responsibility of setting the tone for their respective teams.