The biggest game of the four remaining makes for the second match of this double-header on Saturday. The Sunrisers Hyderabad take on the Kolkata Knight Riders in a match that could potentially shake up the table. SRH have lost their way in the last few games with a couple of losses, while KKR has recovered well from the 102 run loss against Mumbai to win two on the trot.
Should KKR win this one with a decent margin, and CSK lose against Punjab, they could potentially take over CSK for the second spot, giving them two cracks at reaching the final. If CSK win, SRH could finally lose their top spot after occupying it for so long. KKR winning will assure them a place in the semis, but they have a long way to go before they can assure themselves of qualification. Can they hand SRH their third loss in a row, or can SRH jeopardize KKRs playoff chances?
Kolkata Knight Riders
Andre Russell, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, Dinesh Karthik (c), Robin Uthappa, Mitchell Johnson, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Shubman Gill, Ishank Jaggi, Nitish Rana, Vinay Kumar, Apoorv Wankhade, Rinku Singh, Shivam Mavi, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Tom Curran, Prasidh Krishna.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Kane Williamson (c), Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hales.
Where the teams stand
Kolkata Knight Riders
KKR have comprehensively won both their previous two games, outcomes that will give them huge confidence against a team that still possesses the best bowling attack of the tournament. KKR run a severe risk of elimination should they lose, given that Mumbai and Punjab have better net run rates than them and will go through if they win their respective games. The last few matches have seen good performances from some of their struggling players. Narine was excellent against Punjab with the bat, while Kuldeep Yadav procured outstanding figures of 4 for 20 in the last game. Dinesh Karthik is one of the highest run-scorers overall this season, while Russell has also looked in good touch. If the likes of Lynn, Uthappa, and Rana can contribute, KKR could inflict some serious pressure on the SRH bowlers once again.
Dinesh Karthik has been inconsistent as captain, setting appalling fields at times while rotating his bowlers to perfection to enforce a comeback in the last game. Shivam Mavi, in particular, will be crucial if he plays instead of Chawla given the slow nature of the Hyderabad wicket. Russell has been getting KKR the breakthroughs they need, and if one other bowler along with Narine can inflict step up for the team, KKR will be hard to beat.
Fantasy Picks: DK, Russell, and Narine are the first picks from KKR. Rana could come into play with the ball on this pitch, and could be a bonus with the bat as well.
The Sunrisers have lost their way after two consecutive losses that has seen their attack pummeled for runs. Their batting has improved greatly from the instability enveloping them in the middle stages of the tournament, but the bowling has conceded far too many on good batting wickets. Going into the playoffs with three losses on the trot is not an ideal scenario for any team, and SRH will desperately want to get a win under their belt before heading into the eliminators. Much will depend on their bowling attack, with or without Bhuvi, which has been the main driving force behind the teams' success.
SRH’s batting will likely be chasing or setting another big total, and their batsmen need to be prepared for another grind. Williamson and Pandey shone through in the last game, almost taking their team to victory, but the lineup after Pandey is looking very shaky, especially based on their performances thus far. Dhawan has also looked good, but he will want to improve on his poor record against KKR. Hales will be crucial at the top too, but his suspect technique against spin will be a major issue against KKRs possible troika of spinners. This is an evenly balanced match for both teams, one that is bound to be even more competitive with what is at stake.
Fantasy Picks: There are several to choose from in this side. Williamson, Dhawan, Rashid Khan, and Sandeep Sharma are all excellent picks for the form they are in. Pandey seems to have regained his form too, while Shakib could be vital on this pitch with his all-round abilities
KKR win. They have some serious motivation to win this one, and their recent performances suggest another victory is on the cards.
Will the Knight Riders get the job done, or could the Sunrisers prove too strong? Let us know in the comments and poll below.