There’s been nothing separating Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2016. If the two sides are to be stacked together, there won’t be many differences to pick. Think of it. Both teams finished the league stage with 16 points each. Both went through that small-yet-pivotal winning streak. Both faltered in and around the same time. And both are being led by the highest-scorer for their respective sides.
The difference here though, is that KKR have won the title twice, and while the now-defunct Deccan Chargers won it once before, the Sunrisers unit haven’t reached the pinnacle. The closest they came was when they made it to the Playoffs in 2013. Rationality aside, you’d want them to win, purely because they’ve been one of the stronger outfits this year.
David Warner has dominated the batting, while Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson and Yuvraj Singh have fired in bits and pieces. To back it, they’ve had Ashish Nehra, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the young Mustafizur Rahman. Clinical is what they’ve been, and even though they’re coming off successive losses against KKR and Delhi Daredevils, you can’t undermine the telling impact their match-winners can have.
KKR will have the mental edge heading into the match, having beaten Sunrisers twice in the league phase. The last two matches proved they have enough firepower in both departments to get the job done. Even in the absence of Andre Russell, they comprehensively won against the Sunrisers, with chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav getting into the mix of action along with Sunil Narine.
With both having frittered away momentum at certain crucial junctures, what could have been a top two finish has resulted in the sword of eliminator hanging around the neck. There is no room for error for either of the two teams.
Date: May 25, 2016
Time: 20:00 IST
Venue: Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
Weather: There are some showers in store. However, it shouldn’t be anything more than a brief spell.
Team News
Sunrisers Hyderabad
Sunrisers look a settled unit, especially in the bowling front. Though in the absence of Nehra, Bhuvneshwar and Mustafizur will have the tough task of containing an in-form KKR batting unit. Legspinner Karn Sharma may to make way for way for allrounder Ashish Reddy or left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma. In batting, neither Williamson nor Eoin Morgan has really got going. Deepak Hooda hasn’t been the most convincing either. But their places seem safe considering it’s a knockout.
Probable XI: 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kane Williamson/Eoin Morgan, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 Naman Ojha (wk), 7 Moises Henriques, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Barinder Sran, 10 Karn Sharma/Ashish Reddy/Bipul Sharma, 11 Mustafizur Rahman
Kolkata Knight Riders
Colin Munro has been a disappointment in all three matches. Hence, swapping him seems to be a no-brainer. Considering the depth in KKR’s batting, perhaps bringing in Morne Morkel is a risk Gambhir should take. Also, there’s word that Andre Russell is fit enough to reclaim his place, which should most likely be at the expense of his West Indian team-mate Jason Holder.
Probable XI: 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Robin Uthappa (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Kuldeep Yadav/Piyush Chawla, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Ankit Rajpoot
– Russell is the leading wicket-taker in T20s in 2016 with 49 wickets in 35 matches.
– Sunrisers have the lowest economy-rate of 6.73 in the Powerplay.