The Kolkata Knight Riders will take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in perhaps the most important match of this year’s IPL.
Teams like Kings XI Punjab, Rajasthan Royals, Royal Challengers Bangalore and Mumbai Indians will be eagerly awaiting for the outcome of this match as that will give them a clear scenario for qualification to the playoffs. All of these teams will be hoping that Sunrisers continues their good form and defeat Kolkata, while the Knight Riders will be hoping to win their last league game and qualify for the playoffs. The fact that this match will be played at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad just makes things a little difficult for Dinesh Karthik’s men. But they will definitely take heart from the fact that in the overall 13 encounters played between both the sides Kolkata have won 8.
Kolkata was thrashed in the earlier encounter between these two sides. Hyderabad won the toss on a rather challenging Eden Gardens wicket and without any hesitation decided to bowl. Despite Chris Lynn’s 49 from 34 balls Kolkata could only manage 138/8 in their allotted 20 overs. Experimenting with Narine’s batting position cost the hosts dearly as coming into bat in the middle overs Narine never quite got going till he was dismissed by Shakib. Billy Stanlake and Shakib Al Hasan were exceptional with the ball picking up 2 wickets each by just giving away 21 runs from their 4 overs.
In reply to the modest total of 138, Sunrisers started poorly and were reduced to 55/3 with Sunil Narine removing both Saha and Dhawan in quick succession. It was again up to the captain Kane Williamson to play a responsible innings and guide his team home. The captain did just that and along with Shakib Al Hasan stitched together a partnership of 59 runs. Chawla and Johnson removed Shakib and Williamson respectively and reduced them to 119/5 in 17.2 overs. With SRH needing another 20 from 16 balls Yusuf Pathan came and played a cameo of 17 from 7 balls guiding his team to a rather easy victory at the end.
Team News and Strategies:
SRH in all probabilities will be making a couple of changes against Kolkata from their previous match against Bangalore. Basil Thampi was taken to the cleaners by the RCB batting lineup and hence there is a possibility of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar returning to the side. Other than that, they will be hoping to play the same team as they will want their important players to be in touch with the game before the playoffs start. Kolkata’s middle order has been an area of concern for them and SRH will be hoping that the likes of Shakib, Rashid and Siddharth Kaul run through a rather out of colour KKR middle order.
In the batting department Hyderabad will be extremely happy to see Manish Pandey return to form against Royal Challengers and will be hoping that he fires again against Kolkata. Dhawan’s form is a concern for Williamson and the team management but given the kind of world class batsman Shikhar is, we definitely feel that he is just one innings away from getting back to his best again.
The visitors will definitely be opening with Narine in this match and will be hoping that he takes on the opponent bowlers in the powerplay. Uthappa’s form has been a concern for the Knight Riders and Kathik will be praying that Uthappa comes good in this match. Kuldeep’s extraordinary bowling will be a relief for the management and they will be expecting Kuldeep and Narine to get them the big wickets of Williamson, Hales and Pandey.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Hales, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan/ Deepak Hooda, Shreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi, Javon Searles, Kuldeep Yadav and Prasidh Krishna.