Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kolkata Knight Riders will battle it out in the first eliminator of this season. The winner will face Mumbai Indians enroute to the finals in Qualifier 2 and the other team will bow out of the tournament. Sunrisers Hyderabad finished in third position with eight wins and a point from a rain affected match. KKR completed the top four with 16 points. Both teams are evenly matched and it all boils down to handling the pressure in a knockout match. Here are the Preview and Match Predictions for Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Kolkata Knight Riders started on a positive note with seven wins in their first nine matches. But they seemed to have lost a much needed momentum with just a solitary win in the last five matches. They were cruising towards a top two finish before Rising Pune Supergiants sneaked past them. Robin Uthappa missed a couple of matches, while Nathan Coulter-Nile has missed the team’s last three outings. Their collective dip has somewhat came as a surprise especially the under performing batting line up.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have played well throughout the season but failed to establish a winning momentum with no more than 2 wins on a trot. Having both orange cap and purple cap holders in their ranks, Sunrisers have plenty of match winners in their side. They’ll expect their top players to come out with flying colours to defend the coveted title. Can Warner and co. survive this longer route to lift the trophy again?
In 2016, even 200 was not safe here at M Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru. But this year, the things have changed a lot and the highest score has turned out to be 161. The teams would be looking towards their spinners and slow medium pacers to get them the breakthroughs.
There is 20% chance of evening showers and thus DL method could come into play. If the rain denies a full game, the winner of a Super Over will progress to the Qualifier. If the conditions don’t even permit a Super Over, the team that finished higher in the regular season (SRH in this case) will progress.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – STRENGTHS
The bowling of KKR has been the most lethal this season. The return of Nathan Coulter-Nile would give a much needed boost to their attack. Kuldeep Yadav has been effective in the middle overs taking wickets regularly and keeping the scoring rate in check. Ankit Rajpoot has been impressive in the few opportunities that he has got. Sunil Narine has been their most reliable bowler through the seasons. In batting, Chris Lynn spells a danger for the opposition attack. Its always raining sixes when he is at the crease.
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS – WEAKNESSES
With their opening gamble of Sunil Narine not paying off in the last few matches, Gautam Gambhir may decide to open again. The middle order – Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Colin deGrandhomme has been inconsistent which has hurt KKR especially while chasing. Going into the playoffs, they have lost the much needed momentum that could hinder their confidence in a must win encounter.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD – STRENGTHS
David Warner has been the best batsmen so far in the IPL. If he decides to repeat his heroics of last match against KKR, it could be curtains for the opposition. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has led the bowling attack effectively and deserves the purple cap for the season. Rashid Khan has bamboozled the batsmen with his innocuous googlies. Mohd. Siraj and Siddarth Kaul have been effective in the pace department. Mohd. Nabi and Bipul Sharma have proved their utility in the middle overs. Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson and the impressive Vijay Shankar are in sublime form with the bat.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD – WEAKNESSES
The injury to Yuvraj Singh and Mohd. Nabi may raise some concerns regarding the balance of the side.
Moises Henriques has leaked runs with the ball. Sunrisers Hyderabad have an unimpressive record on the road this season, losing most of their six away matches.
KKR – Nathan Coulter-Nile is expected to be fit for this match and he may come in for Trent Boult. Gambhir may open with Lynn to give Uthappa and Pandey some more time to settle on the wicket.
Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir (capt), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme, Kuldeep Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot
SRH – A call on Yuvraj’s fitness would be taken before the match. Nabi, with a finger injury, is also doubtful.
David Warner (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Naman Ojha (wk), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul, Mohammed Siraj.
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 11, SRH – 4, KKR – 7
Sunrisers and KKR split their games in the group stages. KKR defended 172 at Eden Gardens in the first meeting. David Warner ran away with the next game with a sensational 59-ball 126 in Hyderabad.
These two teams also met in the Eliminator in IPL 2016 too; on that occasion, Sunrisers Hyderabad batted first, scored 162-8 and then restricted the Kolkata Knight Riders to 140-8.
With KKR and SRH locking horns on a neutral venue in a knockout clash, things are expected to be quite heated up in the middle, unless rain plays spoilsport. Here’s what we predict.
If KKR bats first
1st Innings Score: 150 – 160
KKR wins by 10 – 20 runs.
If SRH bats first
1st Innings Score: 150 – 160
SRH wins by 10 – 20 runs.