After registering a 23-run win over Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad need to cement their play-off berth when they take on the ousted Kolkata Knight Riders on Sunday.
Hyderabad: The race for the fourth spot still hangs in the balance, and Sunrisers Hyderabad face the last obstacle in their path. After handing Rajasthan Royals one of their more comprehensive defeats this season, Hyderabad have taken out quite a few positives. Defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders are already out of the tournament after their "mathematical equation" was laid to rest by party poopers Pune Warriors but Gautam Gambhir and his team would aim play for pride and make things tedious for Hyderabad.
Kolkata's campaign was an overall disappointment. After winning the fifth edition in 2012, a lot was expected out of them but sadly the side looked nothing like last year. Uncertainties in the batting line up and the overall composition of the team was questioned throughout. In their last encounter, KKR suffered a shock defeat to Pune who have been the weakest team in this tournament. Chasing 170, KKR fell short by seven runs which acted as a final nail in the coffin.
Gambhir's on and off form hasn't helped their cause keeping in mind the kind of run the other batsmen have had. Jacques Kallis, arguably the finest allrounder of the modern era, has shown glimpses of class but remained a disappointment with the bat overall. Yusuf Pathan was the biggest set-back, managing a solitary fifty - his first since 2010 - in the campaign. If Kolkata have to come out of the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium with their heads high, the batsmen have to fire and live up to their stature.
Kolkata's seamers took a pounding from the Pune batsmen as both L Balaji and Kallis went at over 10 runs an over. It was once again the likes of Sunil Narine and Sachitra Senanayake who put the brakes on the scoring in the middle overs. Ryan ten Doeschate, to everyone's surprise, was given just one over to bowl.
Hyderabad, on the other hand, were able to put the Wankhede nightmare behind them when their spotless bowling won them the game against Rajasthan. Dale Steyn, Karan Sharma, Amit Mishra and Thisara Perera had two wickets each following a wonderful spell of bowling. Mishra and Perera need to be given credit as they were coming off a mauling from Kieron Pollard the game before.
Their bowling has covered up for their inconsistent batting. Shikhar Dhawan and Parthiv Patel have fired in fits and starts. Cameron White has been shuffled in the batting order and Perera's late blows haven't given the desired results. Hanuma Vihari has shown that he possesses a cool head on his shoulders and Biplab Samantray - who scored 55 on Friday - has come out to be a surprise package.
Hyderabad face a do-or-die situation heading into Sunday's game whereas KKR would be keen on signing off on a positive note.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Parthiv Patel (wk), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Hanuma Vihari, 4 Cameron White (capt), 5 Biplab Samantray, 6 Darren Sammy, 7 Thisara Perera, 8 Dale Steyn, 9 Karan Sharma, 10 Amit Mishra, 11 Ishant Sharma
Kolkata Knight Riders: 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Manvinder Bisla (wk), 3 Jacques Kallis, 4 Yusuf Pathan, 5 Ryan ten Doeschate, 6 Manoj Tiwary, 7 Debabrata Das, 8 Rajat Bhatia, 9 Sachitra Senanayake, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 L Balaji