Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Verge of 150 Wickets for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Shreyas Iyer Returns for Kolkata Knight Riders

Bhuvneshwar Kumar on Verge of 150 Wickets for Sunrisers Hyderabad, Shreyas Iyer Returns for Kolkata Knight Riders

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, the spearhead of Sunrisers Hyderabad, is on the cusp of a remarkable milestone as he prepares to face Kolkata Knight Riders in the opening match of IPL 2024. The seasoned fast bowler is just four wickets away from becoming the first Indian bowler to claim 150 wickets for a single franchise in the league. Only two other bowlers, Lasith Malinga (Mumbai Indians) and Sunil Narine (Kolkata Knight Riders), have achieved this feat in the IPL’s history.

Meanwhile, the spotlight will also be on Shreyas Iyer’s return from a lengthy injury layoff. The Indian batter, who missed the entire 2023 season due to a back injury, will lead Kolkata Knight Riders, who have made some strategic additions while retaining the core of their team. Iyer recently impressed with a 95 in Mumbai’s Ranji Trophy triumph, but his availability for all matches remains uncertain due to fitness concerns.

Kolkata Knight Riders have welcomed back their most successful captain, Gautam Gambhir, as a mentor. His partnership with head coach Chandrakant Pandit, a renowned tactician in the domestic circuit, will be crucial to their revival. Team principal owner Shah Rukh Khan has emphasized the importance of ownership and accountability, urging Gambhir to lead the franchise to success.

Under Gambhir’s captaincy, Kolkata Knight Riders enjoyed a golden era from 2011 to 2017, winning two IPL titles, reaching five playoffs, and finishing as runners-up in the Champions League T20 tournament.

The biggest signing of this IPL season is Kolkata Knight Riders’ acquisition of Australian pacer Mitchell Starc for a record sum of Rs 24.75 crore. The left-arm quick will face immense pressure to perform, especially in the power-play and death overs. Starc and Andre Russell are the only experienced pacers in Kolkata Knight Riders’ ranks, making their workload management a critical factor.

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