Momentum on Kolkata's side ahead of deciding fixture against SunRisers

Andre Russell key to seeing Kolkata through to IPL Final
 

After close to seven weeks, the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League is all set to decide who is going to play the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in the final. The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have won their past four matches and will be playing at home while the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have lost their previous four games. If this match were to be decided on form alone, KKR would have been clear winners.

Kolkata Knight Riders v Sunrisers Hyderabad

May 25, 2018

19:00 hours IST

Eden Gardens, Kolkata

Recent form:

Kolkata Knight Riders – WWWWL

Sunrisers Hyderabad – LLLLW

Face-to-face during league stages: KKR won by five wickets; SRH won by five wickets

Going by the nature of the wicket in the elimination game, the spinners will once again hold the key to this game. Both sides do have quality spinners in their teams although KKR would like to believe that their spinners outnumber them. Having said that, SRH have in them, three quality and experienced fast bowlers which KKR don’t.

There is always a lot of talk about peaking at the right time in such a long tournament and it seems like KKR have done exactly that. With a weak bench strength, they have managed their resources very well and have been well led by Dinesh Karthik. He has been phenomenal with the bat, especially during run chases and that has made them a very strong opposition.

SRH have gone the other way of late. They were the clear favorites to win the tournament at the start but with four losses in their last four fixtures, they seem to have lost their way. Whether it is a question of peaking too early is something which can be debated. They still have the same resources that have got them so far and all they need to do is have the belief of turning things around.

SRH coach Tom Moody has been a part of champion sides, both as a player and as a coach and he will know exactly how to pep up his players ahead of this crucial encounter. For starters, they could do with some runs on the board from Manish Pandey, who has not had his best season so far. With so many young Indian players setting up this IPL on fire, every failure of his will make the critics question his inclusion in the national team.

While chasing has been the go-to success formula at the Eden Gardens, the Rajasthan Royals showed how horribly teams can mess up a chase against the quality of spinners on offer from Kolkata. One must take note of the fact that there were four caught and bowled dismissals in the eliminator to go along with some unusually high bounce, which made shot making difficult on the Eden wicket.

Another such wicket would mean that the experienced batsmen will have to step up and do the job just like how Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell did it for KKR in the eliminator. SRH’s top order will be the key to their success with the bat as they look to set sights on a second silverware. The Knights though, would be marginal favorites given their home advantage!

Probable XI’s

Expect unchanged elevens from both sides.

Kolkata Knight Riders – Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik (c & wk), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav

Sunrisers Hyderabad – Sreevats Goswami (wk), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Shakib al Hasan, Carlos Brathwaite, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul

Trivia

  • The 2016 edition saw three players hit 30 plus sixes in the IPL – the most number of players to achieve that feat until this year, where six players have done it. Interestingly, in 2017, none of the players achieved this feat
  • Rashid Khan’s spell of two for 11 from four overs against CSK in the first qualifier equals Axar Patel’s record for the least runs conceded in an IPL playoff/knockout match
  • Shardul Thakur’s figures of one for 50 against SRH is the second worst figures for a CSK bowler in the playoffs/knockouts. The worst belongs to Ashish Nehra who conceded 51 runs for his two wickets against Punjab back in 2014
  • Dinesh Karthik has an average of 212 in successful run chases with the bat this season

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