BENGALURU: It is the time to deliver. When defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad take on Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator of Season 10 of the IPL here, there will be no second chances. That makes it all the more important to give it their best here on Wednesday.
Coming off two wins, Hyderabad are going to be confident, but the last time they were at the M Chinnaswamy Stadium, the match was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain. Not having played here may very well be a disadvantage for visitors.
But the last time Kolkata played at venue, their opening pair of Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine made mincemeat of the hosts’ attack and won the game comfortably. The win would have been all the more sweeter because Gautam Gambhir’s side, like all sides, would have been apprehensive about changed nature of the pitch, which has been yielding far less runs than last year.
However, what needs to be considered is the attack Hyderabad have. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been good, but will not have the backup of Ashish Nehra. However, Rashid Khan could do some serious damage to Kolkata’s batting line-up. And the Men in Purple and Gold will miss all-rounder Chris Woakes, who has left for England duty. But they will be relying on batting.
Last year, Hyderabad beat Kolkata in the Eliminator.
However, coach Tom Moody is not going by past records.
“There are lots of fond memories. But comparing with last year is not right, because these are completely different circumstances. There is a different balance to our side, and KKR have got different players who are playing in a different style, with Lynn and Narine at the top,” he said, adding, “We’ve played KKR twice, and have seen how they go about Powerplay overs. So far, we’ve been successful in nullifying that. They got off to a flier here, but we hope we don’t bowl as inconsistently as that.”
Kolkata are coming off two straight losses, but Moody isn’t taking things lightly. “Their form over the past two weeks is not going to be relevant. They’ve got a lot of experience. We have to make sure we focus on performing with the same mindset as we’ve done recently,” he noted.
“They have their own headaches in a way. The inclusion of Narine up front has thrown their middle order into some confusion. But I’m more worried about our balance than the issues they may have.”
Not playing on the Bengaluru pitch may not have been helpful, but the 51-year-old knows what is needed.
“We’re fully aware of the challenges teams have faced here. Unfortunately, we had a washout here. Last year, when we played the final here, we knew if we didn’t get 200 we weren’t in the contest. This year, if we get 150-160, we’re very much in it,” he concluded. Just to add spice to things, rain is forecast in the city in the evening.
clash of the equals!
Both teams are well placed and have certain negatives as well. Express takes a look at this mouth-watering clash...
Kolkata Knight Riders
After beating a struggling RCB, they posted dismal shows against KXIP and Mumbai Indians, and a poor run can affect players mentally. However, Umesh Yadav, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Sunil Narine and Chris Woakes complete an impressive bowling unit. On the batting front, the opening pair of Chris Lynn and Narine have given nightmares to opposition bowlers in the Powerplay.
Orange Cap holder David Warner, who has continued his fine partnership with Shikhar Dhawan, is the highest run-getters this year. With 25 wickets, Bhuvneshwar Kumar is the leading wicket taker. The Afghanistan spin duo of Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi have also impressed. But at times, being over-dependant on Dhawan and Warner will be a concern heading into the knockouts.
Lynn vs Bhuvneshwar
The Aussie big-hitter seems to be reshaping the dynamics of batting against pace, and has been the undoubted star for Kolkata at the top of the order. But the canny Bhuvneshwar has shone this season, be it at the beginning or death, and could just be the one to stop Lynn.
Williamson vs Coulter-Nile
The Aussie has been in and out of KKR, but when he has started, he was invariably the best. He will be key to stopping Williamson, who has been showing that power isn’t everything in T20 cricket.
Warner vs Narine
Warner has a history of weaknesses against off-spin in the sub-continent, and Kolkata will look to exploit this by using Narine early. Despite his remodelled action, the Caribbean offie has still been effective this season.
Pitch and conditions
The Bengaluru pitch, unlike it’s batsmen-friendliness and appetite for runs from previous seasons, has favoured bowlers much more. So expect another such square, with temperatures likely to be around 35 degrees.