Skipper Dinesh Karthik's tactical nous will once again be put to test when Kolkata Knight Riders take on a depleted Sunrisers Hyderabad in their second IPL fixture at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi on Saturday.
Much was expected from a revamped Kolkata Knight Riders set-up but it seemed Karthik did not learn from his past mistakes and made some inexplicable decisions that led to their complete capitulation against Mumbai Indians.
Once again, the batting position of their biggest hitter Andre Russell became the talking point in their 49-run loss to Mumbai Indians.
The Jamaican, who was their highest run-getter last season with 510 runs from 249 deliveries and the tournament's highest strike rate of 204.81, was seen at No 6 but by then the task had become extremely difficult.
World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan, who was roped in to bolster the wobbly middle order, also could not do much as the asking rate had shot past 13 by the time he came to bat at No 5.
In bowling too, there was a tactical blunder by holding back their ace spinner Sunil Narine till the last over of power play.
On a day, their biggest buy Pat Cummins failed miserably, Narine was given a go only when his IPL 'bunny' Rohit Sharma was well set.
It really defied logic to see such a defensive strategy by a team now coached by Kiwi great Brendon Mccullum who is known for his aggressive mindset.
Known to put up a balanced side on the park, Hyderabad lacked strength and experience in their middle-order, failing miserably against Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Needing just 43 runs from last five overs, SRH lost their last seven wickets for 32 runs to lose the game by 10 runs.
If that was not enough, injury to their all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has compounded their misery.
Skipper David Warner, after being run out in an unfortunate manner at the non-striker's end, will be keen to get into the act, while it remains to be seen whether Kane Williamson has recovered from his injury to bolster the batting department.
SRH bowling has always been impressive and it seems the think tank may bring in Mohammed Nabi to bowl alongside his fellow mate Rashid Khan while Bhuvneshwar Kumar will spearhead the pace attack.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Shubman Gill, Sunil Narine, Dinesh Karthik(C & WK), Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Nikhil Naik, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav, Sandeep Warrier, Rahul Tripathi, Siddhesh Lad, Chris Green, Prasidh Krishna, Lockie Ferguson, Rinku Singh, Ali Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Tom Banton, Varun Chakravarthy, Manimaran Siddharth
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner(C), Jonny Bairstow(WK), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammad Nabi, Shahbaz Nadeem, Jason Holder, Bavanaka Sandeep, Billy Stanlake, Fabian Allen, Virat Singh, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sanjay Yadav, Abdul Samad
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik (C & WK), Nitish Rana, Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, Nikhil Naik, Pat Cummins, Shivam Mavi, Sandeep Warrier, Kuldeep Yadav.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Jonny Bairstow (WK), David Warner (C), Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Priyam Garg, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan.
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad Dream XI:
Jonny Bairstow, David Warner (C), Shubman Gill, Dinesh Karthik (WK), Manish Pandey, Andre Russell, Pat Cummins, Rashid Khan, Shivam Mavi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Kuldeep Yadav
Pitch Report (What to expect?):
From previous matchups at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, it won't be a surprise if the toss winning team opts to bowl first. With increasing dew and size of the field, batsmen may once again face a challenge to score boundaries, and a chase will seem much comfortable as bowlers will play a key role to contain the batsmen.