Defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad will lock horns against Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL 2017 Eliminator at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday.
The winner of this match will go on to face Mumbai Indians in the Qualifier 2 at the same venue, which will decide the second finalist.
SRH will miss the services of Ashish Nehra, who has been ruled out of the tournament due to a hamstring injury. On the other hand, KKR would hope to regain their lost touch which saw them dominate the early stages of competition.
Here’s a look at some of the key clashes ahead of Wednesday’s mouth-watering clash:
David Warner v Umesh Yadav
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s biggest strength is how David Warner can turn into a one-man army when the pressure is on; like he did in their must-win last league match. Continuing from where he left-off last season, he is the leading run-getter (604 at 60.40) in the tournament. KKR’s India pacer Umesh Yadav will be looking to renew his rivalry with the Australian opener after his successful Test series against the kangaroos. Getting Warner early will be crucial to KKR’s chances in the eliminator and the pressure will be on Umesh to do the job.
Gautam Gambhir v Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Seasoned warrior Gautam Gambhir has been the glue holding the Kolkata Knight Riders batting together. He is smart with the angles in the field and has been challenging the bowlers with his open stance. There is little room for error against him as he is severe against anything remotely full and outside off. But he’ll have to take care of Bhuvneshwar Kumar who is at the top of his game, swinging the new ball and testing the best batsmen with his length. He bowls when the pressure is on and SRH are likely use him either in the Powerplay or in the last five overs.
Both are shrewd customers and the connoisseurs will be looking forward to this battle, which will be as much of wits as of skills.
Chris Lynn v Rashid Khan
Opener Chris Lynn has made a reputation of taking the game away in a few overs. He missed a few league games due to a shoulder injury but KKR are happy to have him back for the business end of the tournament. Showing amazing consistency, he has provided brisk starts with a dream run of 93 not out, 32, 50, 84 and 26.
Given how he has targeted fast bowlers, who find it tough on the slow or flat tracks, SRH’s best bet will be to test him with a spinner. Leg-spinner Rashid Khan has already bamboozled top batsmen with his variations this season and has the ability to challenge Lynn. An aggressive batsman against an attacking bowler will make for riveting action.
Shikhar Dhawan v Sunil Narine
To the benefit of Sunrisers Hyderabad, Shikhar Dhawan has used the IPL platform to get back into form. The runs have flowed from Dhawan’s blade and he stands second among the top run-getters with 468, forming a formidable opening partnership with his skipper David Warner. Of the regular KKR players, Sunil Narine has the best economy rate even after his remodelled action. He will be a good option for captain Gautam Gambhir to try against the seasoned Dhawan, who likes to attack the spinners. Narine is proving to be miserly, now relying on accuracy for building pressure on his opponents. It will be interesting to see if Dhawan will be looking to take his chances against the wily Trinidadian as well.
Yuvraj Singh v Kuldeep Yadav
It’s difficult to step out against the chinaman, who lures batsmen with his flight, and then spells their doom by throwing the ball a bit wider to spin it further away. When the two sides met in Kolkata earlier this season, Yadav had been central to KKR’s win by conceding just 23 runs in four overs and taking the big wicket of Warner. If Yuvraj is fit to take the field, how he handles Yadav will be the key contest in the middle overs.