Indian Premier League 2018 is gradually approaching the end. On Friday night, in the penultimate game of the tournament, Kolkata Knight Riders will host the toppers of the group league, Sunrisers Hyderabad. The winner of this game will then lock horns with Chennai Super Kings in the highly anticipated final on Sunday.
This will be a worry for Kane Williamson. After a playoff spot was confirmed, Sunrisers failed to continue the winning momentum and now have lost four matches in a row. The last of them was the first qualifier, where Chennai got the better of Sunrisers, thanks to a fabulous knock of Faf du Plessis. Batting first, the Hyderabad side stumbled from the very first ball of the match, as Shikhar Dhawan was clean bowled by Deepak Chahar. After that, the top order collapsed, and Sunrisers were struggling at 88-6 after 15 overs. But, some late onslaught from Carlos Brathwaite helped them get a respectable total of 139.
In response, Chennai also got off to a slow start. Shane Watson and Ambati Rayudu went back without scoring and they were reduced to 39-4 in the 8th over. Du Plessis held the fort from the other end, but no partnership could stabilize the innings and wickets kept falling in front of a dangerous bowling attack. But then, just when Sunrisers were appearing to be the favourites, last batsman Shardul Thakur pulled off something amazing. From the 19th over, Thakur collected three boundaries and then, Du Plessis required just a big hit in the end to finish it off in style. The Hyderabad team management would be devastated with the unexpected turnaround and would not want a similar result on Friday.
Kolkata, on the other hand, are the in form team at the moment. They have won their last four games on the trot. Two days ago, in the eliminator, Rajasthan Royals were the victims. Put to bat first, Kolkata registered 169 runs on the board, thanks to a determined innings from Dinesh Karthik and from some outstanding hitting of Andre Russell. Then, Ajinkya Rahane and Sanju Samson were batting well during Rajasthan chase. However, as soon as they were out, the visitors’ batting could not find the touch to go over the line. In the end, Rajasthan were restricted to 144 and Knight Riders were the happier side.
The hosts should not make any change. This combination is set and they are providing results everyday. Karthik will look forward to yet another exceptional performance with this team only. Hence, following is the lineup we can expect tomorrow:
Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (C & Wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Jevon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav.
Sunrisers, on the contrary, have a small concern. Their opening partnership has not clicked well since they decided to drop Alex Hales. However, after Brathwaite’s blistering knock in the last game, it will be hard to swap him with Hales. The West Indian is also known for his innings in the World T20 Final, which took place in this ground only. On the other hand, Shakib Al Hasan’s spin might be very important on the Kolkata pitch. Thus, Williamson will have a hard decision to make. The team otherwise should remain unchanged and here’s the probable eleven:
Shikhar Dhawan, Sreevats Goswami (Wk), Kane Williamson (C), Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Yusuf Pathan, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul.
Who do you think will go to the final – Knight Riders or Sunrisers? Let us know in the comments below!