IPL Playoffs, Qualifier 2: Kolkata Knight Riders Face Stiff SunRisers Hyderabad Challenge
Kolkata Knight Riders, fresh out of a come-from-behind win, will be hoping to upstage SunRisers Hyderabad.
KKR pulled off a win over RR in the Eliminator
Chennai Super Kings are in the IPL final
Both teams won each in the round-robin league
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would be hoping that SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) would carry their lean form into one more match when the two sides meet for the Indian premier League (IPL) Playoffs, Qualifier 2, at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on Friday. Kolkata Knight Riders pulled off a win over Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator after being behind for nearly the entire match, while SunRisers Hyderabad were sent packing by Faf du Plessis as Chennai Super Kings (CSK) entered the final. Given the mental make-up of both teams, KKR would be hopeful that that continued home advantage comes good once again against SRH. Both sides would be looking for a comprehensive win before they meet CSK in the final on May 27.
While KKR ticked all the boxes during the business end of the tournament with four wins on the trot, table-toppers SRH have slipped after finishing on top of the league table.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have lost four straight games, something that will be a cause of concern for Kane Williamson's brigade.
Arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma delivering consistently along with the immensely talented Rashid Khan, SRH will like to extract whatever juice is available from at Eden.
But with the momentum strongly in favour of Dinesh Karthik and his team, who will also heavily bank on home advantage, it will need a special effort from SRH to stop the Kolkata juggernaut and return to winning ways.
First to qualify for the play-offs eliminating Delhi Daredevils, SRH slide began in Pune, when their famed bowling attack failed to defend 180 against Chennai and then went on to lose to RCB, KKR and CSK in subsequent games.
Their latest defeat will hurt them the most as they had their match in pocket with Chennai struggling at 113/8 inside 18 overs chasing 140 but Williamson's strategy to keep an over from Carlos Brathwaite at the death backfired.
Bhuvneshwar (9 wickets) will also need to get his act together complement the wily Afghan wrist spinner Rashid Khan (18 wickets) as Williamson also have big holes to plug in the batting department. Siddharth Kaul (19 wickets) has been their best bowler of the season with consistent efforts at the start as well as death.
Surprise choice as Kolkata skipper after the departure of their most successful captain Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik is in the middle of the form of his life averaging 54.44 from 15 matches.
Both teams won each in the round-robin league. Since their defeat at home, KKR have come a long way and won in Hyderabad.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Dinesh Karthik (capt), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R. Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi and Chris Jordan.