It will be a must-win game for the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) once they meet hosting team Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 54th match of Vivo Indian Premier League’s (IPL) season 11.
No less than a victory will be enough for Kolkata to go through. They have the most inferior Net Run Rate among the teams fighting for the playoffs berth and a defeat will mean that their run rate will go down further.
On the other hand, if Bangalore clinches the afternoon game on Saturday, they will directly go through.
Kolkata has played some quality cricket in the 3ecent past, However, it has been their consistency which hasn’t quite made them stroll through t the playoffs. They are still in a knockout position and need to win badly.
The form of Sunil Narine both with the bat and ball has been quite stunning, He has got KKR off to flying starts on most occasions and have also done a pretty good job with the ball in hand.
Narine’s partner Chris Lynn has also started to come back to his own. He played a sensible knock the other day which ensured KKR reached the target against Rajasthan with utmost ease.
Kuldeep Yadav’s exceptional bowling in the previous encounter will surely keep them in a good stead. He is a world-class bowler and his form will be pivotal in KKR’s success in the all-important fixture.
Dinesh Karthik has been the unsung hero for Kolkata. He has led his troops quite brilliantly and has also done a terrific job with the bat in hand.
The youngsters in the team have also raised to the expectations whenever they have been handed opportunities. Andre Russell’s bowling form will also be a huge advantage for the two-time champions as we are almost nearing the end of the tournament.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, lost their previous clash against Bangalore. However, their batsmen showed that even they are capable of chasing down big targets. Chasing a huge target of 219, Hyderabad scored 204 for three in their allotted 20 overs and gave the Bangalore bowlers a run for their money.
The bowling department leaked runs in the last few outings, However, they have been quite consistent as the rest of the tournament is concerned.
The form of skipper Williamson and Shikhar Dhawan will give them huge momentum ahead of the playoffs.
Hyderabad already made sure that they will finish in the top two and hence will get an extra chance to play in the final.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was rested the other day which might well be the case for this clash. Given the fact that Hyderabad have already assured their top two finish, the world-class pacer must be rested for the inconsequential game.
Team Combinations –
Basil Thampi conceded most runs in IPL history. He conceded 70 runs in his four-over spell earlier this week. However he might retain his place if Bhuvneshwar is rested for another match. It might well turn out to be that way.
Wriddhiman Saha has also not recovered totally. Hence his Bengal mate Shreevats Goswami will continue to don the gloves.
Predicted XI: Shikhar Dhawan, Alex Hales, Kane Williamson(c), Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Shakib Al Hasan, Shreevats Goswami(w), Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Basil Thampi, Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma
Kolkata Knight Riders:
The KKR think tank might bring in Piyush Chawla at the expense of either Prasidh Krishna or Shivam Mavi. The surface might suit the spinners which eventually proved to be a case of late. The rest of team will remain the same.
Predicted XI: Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Robin Uthappa, Andre Russell, Dinesh Karthik(w/c), Nitish Rana, Shubman Gill, Javon Searles, Piyush Chawla/ Prasidh Krishna/Shivam Mavi, Kuldeep Yadav
It is a must-win clash for Kolkata. They have to win in order to progress further. They don’t have any other option due to their inferior strike rate. There is no doubt about the fact that KKR will be under enormous pressure.
Hence, I have a feeling that Hyderabad might just run away with the roost in a crucial clash, especially for Kolkata.