It’s not beyond the realms of possibility that the Sunrisers Hyderabad will fall short of making the IPL 11 final, they’ve been out of sorts lately with four-consecutive losses hanging over their heads. The Knight Riders have more than enough firepower to knock off Hyderabad given the amount of depth they possess in their batting line-up, so much so that they just recently defeated them last Saturday. Both teams form guides couldn’t be any more different, and at Eden Gardens everything points to Kolkata (hence their form).
It would be an incredible feat to advance to the final with the Chennai Super Kings this year, and given Hyderabad’s wayward-form and their home ground advantage it’s a high possibility that the Kolkata Knight Riders knock off the visiting Sunrisers. They didn’t exactly breeze through to the second qualifier though, Rajasthan had them 3-24 at one stage in the recent eliminator where they somehow managed to claw their way back after losing their top four for a total of just 51 runs, that’s where their depth in the batting order kicked in. For the majority of IPL 11, you could always rely on skipper Dinesh Karthik to dig his team out of trouble as he did exactly that. Shubman Gill (28 off 17 balls) and Andre Russell (49 off 25 balls) used their quick scoring to their advantage as the score started ticking over at a considerable rate. Karthik’s well-constructed half century accompanied by a clinically-unbeaten 49 from West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell was enough to get them over the line in the end. They did what they needed to do with the bat in the end, but some of their bowlers were outstanding. It was the spinners who did the job, leggy Piyush Chawla claimed 2/24 after dismissing the dangerous-duo of Rahul Tripathi and Sanju Samson while Kuldeep Yadav’s extremely tight spell of 1/18 including 13 dot balls was a game saving effort. Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa and Sunil Narine all had a quiet night with the bat, a rarity this season which tested the remainder of the batting line-up immensely. It was expected that Kolkata might bring back one of Mitchell Johnson or Tom Curran in place of Javon Scantlebury-Searles, but given how they’re utilizing their bowling attack at the moment, it appears unlikely. Will it be night of the Knight Riders? Can they go one step further than last year? Time will tell…
Hyderabad is not in a good place at the moment, it’s very-rare to see a team finish top of the table only to capitulate during the playoffs and exit in straight sets. If the Sunrisers are to lose this match, that would mark a five-game losing streak and probably label them as the IPL’s greatest chokers of all time. Given the amount of success they’ve had in IPL 11, there’s no hiding their past four performances in the tournament, they’ve been outclassed and no longer appear to have that intimidation factor they once possessed. Here’s a theory behind Hyderabad’s sudden form slump, skipper Kane Williamson who’s been arguably the best batsman in this seasons IPL has scores of 36 & 24 in his past two outings. Now those aren’t alarming scores, but the team itself has relied on the Black Caps smooth operator to produce fifty-plus scores in order to lay a solid foundation, long story short if Williamson falls short of the mark the team is sure to follow. Having said that, Williamson still managed scores of 51 & 81 in the losses to Chennai and RCB which does raise another question. They’ll need strong performances from Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson and Manish Pandey if they are to send the Knight Riders packing tomorrow, the likes of Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan just haven’t shown enough to indicate they’ll influence a match in this year’s IPL. The battle between West Indian all-rounders Andre Russell and Carlos Brathwaite will be an intriguing one, Brathwaite struck a brisk 43 not out against the Super Kings and could be that X factor Hyderabad need. They can rely on their bowling attack to take wickets, but keeping the runs to a minimum is a whole new ball game for them. Both Rashid Khan and Siddarth Kaul are bringing plenty of wickets to the table, but they might need something more from Shakib Al Hasan and Bhuvneshwar Kumar as well in order to stun Kolkata at home.
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kolkata Knight Riders | 2nd qualifier | Kolkata
- Andre Russell
- Sunil Narine
- Dinesh Karthik
- Kuldeep Yadav
- Chris Lynn
Wildcard pick – Nitish Rana
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sunrisers Hyderabad | 2nd qualifier | Kolkata
- Rashid Khan
- Kane Williamson
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Yusuf Pathan
- Siddarth Kaul
Wildcard pick – Manish Pandey
Kolkata Knight Riders (possible) – 1. Sunil Narine 2. Chris Lynn 3. Robin Uthappa 4. Dinesh Karthik (c & wk) 5. Andre Russell 6. Nitish Rana 7. Shubman Gill 8. Piyush Chawla 9. Javon Scantlebury-Searles/Tom Curran/Mitchell Johnson 10. Prasidh Krishna 11. Kuldeep Yadav.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (possible) – 1. Shikhar Dhawan 2. Shreevats Goswami/Wriddhiman Saha (wk) 3. Kane Williamson © 4. Manish Pandey 5. Yusuf Pathan 6. Shakib Al Hasan 7. Carlos Brathwaite 8. Rashid Khan 9. Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10. Siddarth Kaul 11. Sandeep Sharma.