May 17, 2017, 08:00pm local time (02:30pm GMT)
The Indian Premier League tournament moves to the first knock-out game this season where the defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator in Bangalore on Wednesday.
Both teams looked guaranteed of a top two finish at the way they began the tournament with Hyderabad winning six out of their first 10 while Kolkata managed seven wins but their slump in form almost costed them a place in the play-off before David Warner's men outplayed Gujarat Lions in their final group stage game. Hyderabad will be plagued with injury concerns as Ashish Nehra will continue to remain on the sidelines while Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Nabi will undergo fitness test prior to the game after struggling with hamstring and finger injuries respectively.
With 604 runs from 13 games, Warner is the leading run-scorer in the tournament by a distance and will once again be the key component in their line-up. The likes of Shikhar Dhawan and Moises Henriques need to step up to the occasion, if they are to keep their chance of defending the title alive while Vijay Shankar was impressive in the previous game against Gujarat. Despite, missing out on one of their key bowler last season Mustafizur Rahman, they had Rashid Khan stepping up in the big stage while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Siddharth Kaul have been impressive. All three Rashid, Bhuvneshwar and Kaul feature in top 10 leading wicket takers in the tournament, speaking volumes about their bowling attack once again.
Kolkata will be concerned with their batting as seen in the games against Mumbai Indians and Kings XI Punjab where they failed to chase 174 and 168 respectively. Chris Lynn's return has certainly boosted their chance but they might like to reconsider the option of sending Sunil Narine up the order, even though the move paid dividends in most of the powerplays.
Gautam Gambhir in his last five games has managed has managed just 78 runs while the other in form batsman Robin Uthappa scored 2 and 0 in the final two games after he notched a hat-trick of fifties. If Kolkata, are to go a distance, they will be needing more from the likes of Yusuf Pathan, who looked a shadow of himself this season. Nevertheless, the team has a vast experience of delivering in big games as seen in their title wins in 2012 and 2014.
Performance in Group Stage:
Sunrisers Hyderabad: With eight wins and a no result from 14 games, Warner's men managed a third position.
Kolkata Knight Riders: They looked in contention for a top two comfortably but the defeat to Mumbai in the final game of the group stage meant they slipped to the fourth position.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: WWLLW
Kolkata Knight Riders: LLWLL
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Vijay Shankar, Yuvraj Singh, Naman Ojha (wk), Mohammad Nabi / Kane Williamson, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Siddharth Kaul, Mohammad Siraj
Kolkata Knight Riders: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Gautam Gambhir (captain), Robin Uthappa (wk), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Colin de Grandhomme, Kuldeep Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Ankit Rajpoot, Trent Boult.
© Cricket World 2017