The SRH vs KKR game could prove to be a very vital fixture as we approach the end of the league stages in the tournament. With just four games to go, Kolkata Knight Riders sit at the third spot in the IPL table and have a two-point advantage over MI, RCB, RR and KXIP. However, due to an inferior run rate as compared to MI and RCB, a loss in Hyderabad could see KKR slip down to fifth and miss out on the playoffs.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD, after stringing together six consecutive wins, could afford to slip-up and come in to their last group stage fixture on the back of two consecutive losses against CSK and RCB. The team will want to return back to winning ways before the first qualifier and also treat the crowd to a performance worth remembering in the last home fixture. Considered to the best bowling unit in the tournament, the form has taken a dip and the bowlers have managed to pick just 21 wickets in their last four fixtures. Additionally, the team has conceded 180+ in each of their last three fixtures and SRH will want to correct this before they travel to Mumbai for the first qualifier
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS have had an up and down season so far, but have done well to keep their qualification hopes in their control leading up to their last league game. The Knight Riders have won their last two fixtures and four of their last six despite having a thin squad. A win against SRH will ensure qualification and let KKR breathe easy as the remaining three teams fight out for the final spot.
GROUND AND CONDITIONS
The Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium has traditionally been a slow and low track, thus suiting the Sunrisers bowlers. In the IPL final held here in 2017, the Mumbai Indians defended 129. This season, the first innings average score in night games has been 143 and the Sunrisers have won all 5 games played under lights here this season. The Knight Riders who have a 2-2 record here have an uphill task, as the Sunrisers have lost two of their last 13 fixtures at this venue.
HEAD TO HEAD
Historically, Kolkata Knight have an 8-5 lead in head to head fixtures over the Sunrisers. However, in the recent past, the record has been more spread out with both teams registering 3 wins in their last six encounters.
In the previous encounter earlier this season, the Knight Riders could manage just 138 in their allotted overs and Sunrisers galloped to that total with Williamson leading the charge with a half-century.
After 2 losses on the trot, Sunrisers will want to gain momentum before they head to the qualifiers. Bhuvneshwar is expected to return to the squad in place of Basil Thampi. There is also a slight chance that Carlos Brathwaite could get an opportunity in place of Alex Hales
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
With the pitch in Hyderabad expected to be dry and slow, Piyush Chawla will take his place in the XI. Shivam Mavi, who looked low on confidence after Buttler took him for 28 in an over, might sit out. Javon Searles, though picked as a bowling all-rounder, didn’t bowl a single over in the previous game and might be replaced by Mitchell Johnson.
EXPECTED PLAYING XI
Alex Hales, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan, Deepak Hooda, Shreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Sharma, Siddharth Kaul
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Mitchell Johnson/Javon Searles, Prasidh Krishna
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ROBIN vs LEG SPIN
Unlike the last couple of years, this IPL hasn’t been the most fruitful for Robin Uthappa and failure to convert starts has been the major problem. In his last 10 innings, Uthappa has crossed 30 five times, and yet he has scored just one half-century.
Barring Amit Mishra, Uthappa has a fantastic record against the leading wrist spinners of the other teams, and his contest against Rashid Khan will be the key to how KKR handle the threat posed by the Afghan bowler.
Lynn, pretty much like Uthappa, hasn’t been at his destructive best in the IPL. Lynn has crossed double figures in each of his last seven innings and played a pretty mature knock to guide KKR overhaul the Royals’ target in the previous game. With Lynn, it’s like a ticking time bomb, before he cuts loose and displays the kind of hitting he put on show in the BBL.
DID YOU KNOW?
Chris Lynn was part of the Deccan Chargers team, the team that was earlier based out of Hyderabad. He played 1 match for them, scoring 6.
Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Hales, Kane Williamson(c), Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Shreevats Goswami(w), Rashid Khan, Basil Thampi, Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Mohammad Nabi, Carlos Brathwaite, Ricky Bhui, T Natarajan, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Tanmay Agarwal, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan
KOLKATA KNIGHT RIDERS
Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Andre Russell, Shubman Gill, Shivam Mavi, Javon Searles, Prasidh Krishna, Kuldeep Yadav, Rinku Singh, Mitchell Johnson, Tom Curran, Piyush Chawla, Vinay Kumar, Ishank Jaggi, Apoorv Wankhade, Cameron Delport
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