The covers came off around 4pm on Saturday, and the Eden Gardens pitch looked pretty damp. It had been raining in Kolkata for the last two days and the whole ground was under wraps. Humidity has affected the top soil and according to ground staff, a couple of hours of unbroken sunshine on Sunday could be the only solution for a bone dry surface.
Usually in a T20 fixture, pitch doesn’t grab much attention but this time it’s a little different, thanks to Cyclone Roanu that had passed through the Bengal coastline. The weather is clearing up though, and the forecast for Sunday is bright. But a touch of uncertainty still remains over the pitch with Kolkata Knight Riders — 14 points from 13 matches — playing a must-win game against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
“With this amount of rain around, the preparation has been affected. It won’t be as dry as normal, depending on how hot it is tomorrow. Ultimately we know if we win, we get through,” KKR assistant coach Simon Katich said.
Successive losses to Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions have put the two-time champions in a spot of bother. To make matters worse, Andre Russell appears doubtful with a sore hamstring, while Umesh Yadav is recovering from a niggle. The hosts have to overcome the odds to ensure they don’t fizzle at the death. They had choked last term under similar circumstances. Hyderabad are fresh from their last ball humdinger against Delhi Daredevils, which they lost. But with 16 points, they have all but reached the playoffs.
Fast bowling has been Hyderabad’s strength but David Warner is turning out to be their hero with 640 runs from 13 matches, including seven half-tons. “He (Warner) is a very good captain and there’s no doubt that he is having a very positive influence on this team. His runs speak for themselves and they are crucial runs because they are at the top of the order and they take a lot of pressure off his teammates. He has got all the hallmarks to be a fine captain,” Katich said.