Sunrisers Hyderabad shall be locking horns against two time title holders Kolkata Knight Riders in the eliminator to be played at the Bengaluru later on Wednesday evening.
The defending champs finished third on the points table in the league stages to secure a berth in the playoffs. SRH were locked in an intense battle with Kings Eleven Punjab and Rising Supergiants to secure a playoff berth. Meanwhile KKR who at one stage looked pretty comfortable to finish in the top two slipped up a lil in their last league games to secure the fourth and final spot.
Both the team faced off against each other twice in the league stages with a win each for both the teams.Sunrisers have the edge over Kolkata Knight Riders with an impressive 7-4 win loss record in 11 games.
It is notable the SRH had eliminated KKR at the same stage of the tournament last year on the way to clinching the title. SRH's march to the playoffs has been spearheaded by a well rounded team performance. While their skipper David Warner and fellow opener Shikhar Dhawan have been consistently among the runs, the middle order has been lent impetus by Moses Henriques dependability and Kane Williamson's fireworks.
Afghan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi has made noteworthy contributions with the bat too. The bowling lineup is one of the most balanced with quality in both seam and swing.While Bhuneshwar Kumar has been among the wickets all through the season, he has been well supported by the old war horse Ashish Nehra and young turks in Mohammad Siraj and Siddhart Kaul. Afghan spinner Rashid Khan has been a revelation with his googlies.
Kolkata Knight Riders
Two time defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders have once again proved their mantle by securing off a playoff berth. KKR's batting efforts have led by their skipper Gautam Gambhir and seasoned batsman Robin Uthappa, both of whom have been prolific with the bat. Meanwhile Manish Pandey has also been handy with the willow courtesy his cameos in the middle overs.
Power hitter Yusuf Pathan has been a touch disappointing by his high standards. Aussie hard hitting batsman Chris Lynn has decimated most of the bowling attacks with his power-packed hitting in the power-plays. Meanwhile KKR's biggest bonus with the bat has been Sunil Narine delivering consistently as a Pinch hitter up the order.
Kolkata Knight Riders bowling has been pretty formidable all through the season. While their seamers Trent Boult, Umesh Yadav and Chris Woakes were all among the wickets, the team had a plethora of spinners in Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav and Piyush Chawla who were used effectively on turning tracks. All-rounder Andre Russel's absence was filled in by Kiwi all-rounder Colin De Grandhomme.
So a cracker of a game is in the making at Bengaluru when two power-packed sides face off with an aim to make it to the second qualifier.