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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

Kolkata Knight Riders face tough test vs Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2017

Kolkata Knight Riders would hope to recover from a slump in form against the stellar Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Eliminator of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017

ipl-2017 Updated: May 17, 2017 11:42 IST
Bihan Sengupta
Bihan Sengupta
Hindustan Times, Bangalore
Kolkata Knight Riders have suffered from a slump in form ahead of their eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017.
Kolkata Knight Riders have suffered from a slump in form ahead of their eliminator against Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017.(AFP)

There’s a lot at stake for Kolkata Knight Riders as they take on defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in the eliminator at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, here on Wednesday. For a first, their shoddy performances need to get replaced by the valour they possess to outsmart oppositions while exacting a revenge of their 48-run loss in the group stage should act as a motivation as well.

Knights’ nightmare

Kolkata Knight Riders have won just one game out of their last five matches, and yet, they have somehow managed to sneak into the play-off stages. That shows the maroon brigade’s contrast in form in the first half of the tournament and towards the end of the league stage. The KKR think-tank will really have to solve the jigsaw and assess what’s going wrong for the side.

Read | IPL 2017: Kolkata Knight Riders - strengths and weaknesses - ahead of playoffs

Unlike their opponents who’ve ridden on the brilliance of openers Shikhar Dhawan and skipper David Warner to set up platforms for big totals, Kolkata Knight Riders’ have been more of a team performance. Apart from the first game where Gautam Gambhir and Chris Lynn stole the show, each of their players have contributed and are responsible for where the team stands today.

Their bowling unit is as strong as their batting with the likes of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav taking care of the spin department while the pace battery is spearheaded by Umesh Yadav and Trent Boult. However, a few tough decisions might be required to turnaround the side’s fortunes, such as taking a call on Yusuf Pathan (143 runs in 14 matches), who has been unimpressive throughout the tournament. But it depends if the management is willing to take that gamble at such a big occasion.

Read | IPL 2017: Sunrisers Hyderabad - strengths and weaknesses - ahead of playoffs

Stellar Sunrisers

On the other hand, Sunrisers Hyderabad have been pretty solid in their set-up despite losing five matches in the group stages. Three of those five losses came in the first half of the tournament and they really came out in flying colours towards the fag-end of the tournament, including picking up the all-important win against Mumbai Indians to keep their play-off hopes alive.

While the Warner-Dhawan show has powered the team, the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammed Siraj, and Siddharth Kaul have been really up to the task in defending whatever totals they’ve been thrown at to defend. Rashid Khan, too, has been pretty economical while chipping in with vital wickets to emerge as one of the most important members of the squad.

Read | Ashish Nehra out of IPL, Sunrisers Hyderabad sweat over Yuvraj Singh’s fitness

However, it’s the opening pair, the top-two run-getters of the tournament, that Kolkata Knight Riders should feel most threatened about. If either of the two get going and fibds support from the likes of Moises Henriques or Yuvraj Singh, KKR will be left with a mountain to climb. It shouldn’t be an easy task though, as KKR have a decent bowling attack and have shown their ability to chase down totals towards the initial stages of the tournament.

First Published: May 16, 2017 16:40 IST

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