KKR ready for Sunrisers battle
Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be aiming to exploit Sunrisers Hyderabad's recent run of poor form when the two teams square off in what promises to be a high-octane second Qualifier of the Indian Premier League, here on Friday.
While KKR ticked all the boxes during the business end of the tournament with four wins on the trot, table-toppers Sunrisers -- with Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan in their ranks -- have slipped after finishing on top of the league table.
Sunrisers have lost four straight games, something that will be a cause of concern for Kane Williamson's brigade.
Arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shakib, Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma delivering consistently along with the immensely talented Rashid Khan, Sunrisers will like to extract whatever juice is available from the Eden Gardens track.
But with the momentum strongly in favour of Dinesh Karthik and Co who will also heavily bank on home advantage, it will need a special effort from the Kane Williamson-led side to stop the Kolkata juggernaut and return to winning ways.
First to qualify for the play-offs eliminating Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers' slide began in Pune, when their famed bowling attack failed to defend 180 against Chennai and then went on to lose to RCB, KKR and CSK in subsequent games.
Hyderabad's problem has been their batting which is heavily reliant on skipper Kane Williamson, the current 'Orange Cap' holder with 685 runs at a 57.05 average.
Their latest defeat will hurt them the most as they had their match in pocket with Chennai struggling at 113/8 inside 18 overs chasing 140 but Williamson's strategy to keep an over from Carlos Brathwaite at the death backfired.
Out for a 'golden duck' in the last match, Shikhar Dhawan (437 runs) will have to rise to the occasion but it is the middle order that has created problems for Sunrisers.
Both teams won each in the round-robin league. Since their defeat at home, Kolkata have come a long way and won in Hyderabad.
The winners will face CSK in the IPL-11 summit clash in Mumbai on May 27.