Kolkata need to register victory against Sunrisers Hyderabad to qualify for play-offs
Kolkata: Kolkata Knight Riders, looking good for a top-two finish till the other day, have arrived at their last league game of IPL-9 with chances of qualifying for the play-offs hanging by a thread. Nothing short of a win at Eden Gardens will confirm their progress today.
KKR skipper Gautam Gambhir during his 51 vs RCB on Monday. PIC/AFP
Sunrisers Hyderabad are a different team from the one KKR beat a month ago. David Warner & Co have shed early tentativeness to be among the front-runners.
Notwithstanding Friday’s last-ball defeat to Delhi Daredevils in Raipur, SRH are ominous prospects.
While cyclone ‘Roanu’ has brushed past the city, and the rain has relented, thundershowers are on the cards.
Saturday’s scheduled nets had to be called off, and KKR were left hoping they get a game today.
A shortened game may give the visitors an edge. Both teams have been well served by their openers, but Warner and Shikhar Dhawan are surely more destructive than Gambhir and Robin Uthappa.
In Yusuf Pathan, Manish Pandey, and Suryakumar Yadav, KKR have some serious firepower to follow while SRH will rely on the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Moises Henriques and Eoin Morgan. But, then, KKR’s big challenge will not be about matching SRH’s power-hitting but coping with the visitors’ bowling attack.
KKR top-order’s vulnerability to the moving ball has been exposed on more than one occasion. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, with his ability to swing the ball both ways, presents a problem.
KKR have one of the best bench strengths but they would have sorely missed the all-round abilities of Andre Russell in Kanpur. The West Indian had limped off with a hamstring injury during the RCB match on Monday.