Kolkata Knight Riders players celebrate a wicket
Eying a playoff berth, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will have their task cut out when they take on already-qualified table-toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in a crucial Indian Premier League (IPL) game at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Saturday. KKR are placed third in the points table with seven wins in 13 matches. The Dinesh Karthik-led side will have to win to inch closer to a knockout spot.
Along with SRH, second-placed Chennai Super Kings are already in the playoffs. SRH will come into the clash on the back of a 14-run defeat to Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scoring match on Thursday night.
Led by Kane Williamson whose rousing 81 off 42 balls — his eighth fifty-plus score in IPL 2018 — almost won the game for SRH despite the stiff target of 219 set by Virat Kohli’s RCB, the batting clicked last night but their famed bowling took a beating.A
The hosts will be eager to correct the flaws as they brace up to face another tough opposition. SRH are likely to ring in a couple of changes and pacer Basil Thampi, who on Thursday bowled the most expensive four overs in the history of IPL, could be one of the axed players.
Thampi leaked 70 runs in his full quota of four overs, surpassing the previous record held by Ishant Sharma. India opener Shikhar Dhawan missed out against RCB and will be keen to get a big one against the KKR.
Manish Pandey notched a half-century against RCB and will look to continue in the same vein. SRH rested pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar against RCB. Kumar could be back for the KKR game alongside Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul and Shakib Al Hasan.
For the visitors, chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav will be high on confidence after his career-best 4/20 against Rajasthan Royals at the Eden Gardens in their last game. The likes of Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine and skipper Dinesh Karthik will hold the key to KKR’s fortunes.
SRH: Kane Williamson (Captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T. Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi and Chris Jordan.
KKR: Dinesh Karthik (Captain), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R. Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searles, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran.
(With IANS Inputs)