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They started off well, but as has been the case in the previous years, lost steam midway into the tournament. Then there were those odd wins and close losses that has put Kolkata Knight Riders in a situation where they have to win their final game at home to renew their hopes of making it to the playoffs; this after being at the top half of the table for most of the season. However, things aren’t looking great for the Knights after losing two games on the bounce which leaves them in a must-win situation against the Sunrisers Hyderabad. It has been raining in Kolkata over the last few days and there could be chances of rain on game day as well.
The cloud of problems looms large for KKR as all-rounder Andre Russell who missed the previous game against Gujarat Lions owing to a hamstring injury, is still not hundred per cent fit before his side’s crucial fixture. “Andre is getting treatment from our physio and we are unsure about where he is at. He is probably going to miss out if he is not fit enough to play tomorrow given the nature of the injury,” assistant coach Simon Katich said, throwing light on Russell’s injury.
Katich also said Umesh Yadav was recovering well and a call on his availability would be taken on match day. Nevertheless, KKR are coming off a loss against Gujarat Lions in Kanpur and Katich wanted his side to put the loss aside and start afresh. “Everyone was disappointed with the result in Kanpur the other night. The fact is that we have to regroup and start again. You can’t let the disappointment linger too much. It is important to move on and have a positive mindset for the next game. If you are worried about what just happened, then it affects you leading into the next game.”
There are six teams who are still in contention of a place in the top four. There are permutations and combinations and there will be a stage when teams even after winning their final game will have to depend on the net run-rate. KKR believed in keeping a close watch on the games to follow.
“We will know a bit more after the games tonight (Saturday) so that is going to play a part,” Katich said. “Ultimately we know that if we win, we get through. Having a good run-rate helps and that is due to some good wins this season. We will be going in thinking about how we are going to win this game. We are playing at home and Sunrisers Hyderabad have had a good tournament but we feel confident given how we played against them previously.”
Katich also expected his openers to go all guns blazing, especially after a quiet couple of outings. Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa have been instrumental to KKR’s fortunes and the team expected their experience to come to the fore on Sunday. “They have been a huge part of us giving a great start to the tournament. Any team thrives on having a good solid opening partnership in this format. We have certainly been best with that. The last couple of games haven’t gone according to plan, but Gambhir and Robin are both very experienced players and they know that they do have a huge responsibility in that position. We feel that they are very good players and good players normally respond to pressure and big match occasion. This is basically like a final and I am sure they would want to go and do as well as they can to get us off to a good start. If they don’t, there are other guys in the batting line-up who have the opportunity to play well. Our batsmen have been in good form. They had a disappointing game the other night, but that doesn’t make them bad players. They just had a bad game. Hopefully, they put that aside, comeback with a positive mindset and get out there tomorrow and show they are still in good form.”
The Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad come up against each other in the penultimate league stage fixture of VIVO IPL 2016.
SRH are through to the Playoffs, and the focus for them is now to secure a berth in the top two; they have 16 points. For the Kolkata Knight Riders, the equation is simple; win, and progress to the Playoffs. If KKR get the better of SRH, they will get to 16 points, which should be sufficient to make sure they finish among the top four teams. If KKR lose though, they will be tied on 14 points with Mumbai Indians. They need to ensure they don’t lose badly; just to give an indication, only if KKR lose to SRH by a margin of about 40-45 runs or with 4-5 overs to spare will their Net Run Rate drop below MI’s NRR.
Both teams are coming into this contest at the back of defeats; KKR were thrashed by the Gujarat Lions on Thursday night, while SRH couldn’t defend 6 runs off the last two balls in their match against Delhi Daredevils on Friday night.
22 May 2016, 1600 Hrs IST
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
Temperature: Max 34°c, Min 31°c Humidity: Max 89% Wind: 11kmph The Protagonists
The opening batsmen on both sides are key to success of their respective sides. David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan have together contributed to the extent of 55% of SRH’s runs, while Gautam Gambhir and Robin Uthappa are KKR’s top two run-getters this season.
Warner knows to play only one way – take the attack to the opposition; he will once again be expected to set the tone upfront with his aggressive methods, while Dhawan will be expected to drop anchor and bat through the innings. For KKR, their opening pair will be expected to build a launch pad for their daunting and in-form middle order.
On the bowling front, SRH will expect Mustafizur Rahman and Bhuvneshwar Kumar to make substantial damage with the swinging new ball, while KKR will rely on their spin-trio – Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine and Shakib al Hasan - to make things difficult for the opposition batsmen. Head to Head
The Kolkata Knight Riders will have a huge psychological edge when they come up against Sunrisers Hyderabad. KKR have a 5-2 win-loss record against SRH. In IPL matches in Kolkata, the home side has a 100% record, having won all three of their matches against SRH.
KKR have lost three matches at the Eden Gardens this season. The last time they lost as many matches in a season at the Eden Gardens was in 2012. Across the next three seasons – 2013 to 2015 – KKR’s record at home read: 17 matches, 13 wins, 3 defeats and 1 no result.
The team batting first has won only one of the six VIVO IPL 2016 matches played at the Eden Gardens.
SRH have the best overall economy rate in VIVO IPL 2016 – 7.81. KKR meanwhile have the best bowling average and strike rate of all teams.
The future of the two teams depends on how the VIVO IPL 2016 points table takes shape at the end of the league stage. VIVO IPL 2016 Playoff Schedule:
Qualifier 1: 1st Placed team v 2nd Placed team – May 24 at Bengaluru
Eliminator: 3rd Placed team v 4th Placed team – May 25 at Delhi Qualifier 2: Winner of Eliminator v Loser of Q1 – May 27 at Delhi
Grand Final: Winner of Q1 v Winner of Q2 – May 29 at Bengaluru