KKR look to extend dominance over SRH
2012 and 2014 champions Kolkata Knight Riders led by Gautam Gambhir would look to assert their dominance while Sunrisers Hyderabad with David Warner at the helm will have retribution on mind when the two teams lock horns in the Indian Premier League (IPL) Eliminator at 8:30pm local time today.
The two sides last met last Sunday, in what had been a must-win game for qualification. On paper, KKR might lack a match-turning behemoth of the stature or consistency of a Kohli or Warner. Instead they are a crack team of T20 components all expected to pitch in with vital, timely contributions, reports Times of India.
It's in the brains trust, instead, that KKR more resemble a league of cricketing heavyweights. On Tuesday evening at the Ferozeshah Kotla, it was a sight to see Jacques Kallis, Wasim Akram, Simon Katich and Mark Boucher all confabulating mid-pitch with captain Gautam Gambhir and comparing notes. Akram even turned his arm over at the nets, momentarily turning back the clock as a wide-eyed Ankit Rajput looked on, according to the aforementioned report.
Success or failure will decide whether KKR's brain trust ends up becoming the envy of every other IPL franchise. It will also decide if KKR's planning - all based on a bedrock of quality spin and a steady opening pair, plus or minus a brilliant Andre Russell -can repeatedly upstage heady individual heroics in the blink-and-miss T20 format.
Both KKR and SRH concluded their league matches on 16 points each but Shah Rukh Khan’s side had to settle for the fourth spot behind Hyderabad because of inferior net run rate. Going into the eliminator at Delhi, Gambhir and his boys have the psychological edge over SRH having beaten them twice earlier in the league. Kolkata Knight Riders thumped Sunrisers by 8 wickets when they first met in the ongoing IPL and came out in front by 22 runs last Sunday to qualify for the knock-out stage.
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Hyderabad did not fire in all cylinders in their last two games, and their confidence may have taken a hit after crushing defeats against Kolkata and Delhi respectively. In today’s eliminator, David Warner and his boys have no option but to return to winning ways if they desire to make their maiden IPL final appearance.
The Aussie opener has been inspirational for his team Sunrisers like Gautam moved KKR to new heights. Hyderabad skipper is the second highest run getter in the ongoing IPL with 658 runs from 14 games. He needs his middle order, with the likes of Yuvraj Singh, Moises Henriques and Eoin Morgan to contribute when the chips are down.
In the absence of Ashish Nehra, left-arm pace duo of Barinder Sran and Mustafizur Rahman along with Bhuvneshwar Kumar will have to shoulder the responsibility of bowling well with the new and old ball. The lack of quality spinners may just become the Achilles Heel for Hyderabad with the remaining matches of IPL scheduled at Delhi and Bangalore.