IPL 9 playoffs: It's now or never as Knight Riders take on Sunrisers
New Delhi: Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) would look to assert their supremacy while Sunrisers Hyderabad will have revenge on mind when the two teams clash in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator at the Feroz Shah Kotla here today.
Kolkata Knight Riders players celebrate their win over Sunrisers Hyderabad on Sunday. PIC/PTI
Both Sunrisers and KKR finished their league engagements on 16 points but the Gautam Gambhir-led side ended fourth behind Sunrisers due to inferior net run-rate.
But going into today’s game, KKR have psychological advantage over the Sunrisers having beaten them on both the occasions during the league stage.
SRH will bank on skipper David Warner for a good start. PIC/AFP
KKR spanked Sunrisres by eight wickets in their first meeting this season and came out victorious by 22 runs in a must-win match last Sunday.
Going by records too, KKR enjoy edge having won the tournament twice in the past — 2012 and 2014 — and finishing in the play-offs in 2011.
Sunrisers eye revenge
Sunrsiers, on the other hand, managed to secure a play-off berth in 2013 and would be gunning for glory this time around. Today’s match will also give Sunrsiers an opportunity to avenge their defeats to KKR.
KKR have been led from the front by Gautam Gambhir, who would be desperate to prove a point to the national selectors after being ignored for the tour of Zimbabwe and West Indies despite scoring consistently in the ongoing IPL. It also remains to be seen whether KKR’s go-to man Andre Russell has recovered from his injury.
Just when it seemed KKR is getting no more success from his spinners, Sunil Narine and young Kuldeep Yadav sizzled with three and two wickets respectively to script the win against Sunrisers in their last game.
Sunrisers, on the other hand, did not have the best of outing in their last two games. The Hyderabad outfit’s confidence may have taken a dent due to defeats against Delhi Daredevils and KKR in their previous two matches.
Today, the Sunrsiers have no option but to return to winning ways if they desire to make their maiden IPL final appearance.
Just like Gambhir, David Warner has been inspirational for Sunrsiers as captain. The Australian is the second highest run getter in the tournament, amassing 658 runs from 14 games. Warner’s opening partner Shikhar Dhawan has also found his mojo back after a slow start and has scored 463 runs.
A win today will not guarantee any side a place in the final as they will have to fight it out against the losing team of the Qualifier 1 on Friday.