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|Shakib Al Hasan||28||24||4||0||116.67|
|Shakib Al Hasan||3.0||0||16||1||5.33|
The Chennai Super Kings have made their way into the finals and will be awaiting the winner of the match between the Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad to join them. The second qualifier will also be played in Kolkata which should theoretically give some advantage to KKR over SRH, however, that is not something that should be taken as granted.
The matchup between KKR and SRH is fascinating for a couple of reasons. SRH was the dominant team of the league for much of the season before suffering a sudden loss of form towards the end of the regular season. KKR, on the other hand, has been ravaged by injuries and continues to depend heavily on its youngsters to find a way to keep on winning.
Which one of these two teams will be playing CSK for the title in a few days?
The Sunrisers Hyderabad come into this crucial game after having lost four matches on the trot. This poor patch of form has not cost them anything of note up until now, though. They managed to finish in the top-2 and get another shot at making the finals.
A loss in this match is the end of their season and so the stakes are definitely higher.
The SRH bowling attack has suffered some setbacks in the last few matches but it remains the team’s strength. Even in the last match SRH managed a below-par total of 139 and almost turned it into a winning one.
Kane Williamson will be well aware of the fact that him getting runs is almost a pre-requisite for winning. The only other batsman who can be depended on is Shikhar Dhawan. Both the players have shown the ability to win matches and have the temperament to perform in big matches.
Looking at the quality of bowling they are going to be facing, we would definitely back them to score some runs in this match. The Sunrisers also need to decide whether Carlos Braithwaite fits in their plans for the upcoming match.
Braithwaite batted well and was responsible for SRH getting to a fighting total. His bowling at the death, though, was very poor and he was taken apart by Faf du Plessis with ease. Does SRH want to depend on Braithwaite for his bowling when they have five other regular bowlers who can do the job?
We would love to see Alex Hales in the side opening the batting with Shikhar Dhawan because the best time to score may well be with the new ball.
Speaking of the five regular bowlers for SRH, if Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Sandeep Singh, Shakib Al Hasan, Siddharth Kaul, and Rashid Khan cannot do the job for you then it is unlikely that Braithwaite will.
Most of the bowlers had a very good night in the last match and will be confident going into this game. For us, Rashid Khan is going to be the most intriguing bowler to watch. He can bowl well on any surface but give him one that turns a little and he becomes doubly dangerous. How he goes against the KKR batsmen will be pivotal to the match.
SRH has got into a bad losing habit but another way of looking at it is that they are bound to win a game sooner rather than later. This is a team with solid fundamentals. It has a brilliant bowling attack and a weak batting lineup but a couple of good performances could see it contesting yet another IPL final.
Shikhar Dhawan, KS Williamson, Shakib Al Hasan, YK Pathan, Deepak Hooda, WP Saha, Carlos Brathwaite, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed.
Getting to play their eliminator and now the qualifier in Kolkata has to be a huge advantage for KKR. It is the ground that they have been most comfortable in and they can be sure of getting a surface to their liking once again.
KKR showcased the depth in their batting as they climbed out of a difficult situation to post more than a competitive total in their match against the Rajasthan Royals. The early loss of Narine, Uthappa, Rana, and Lynn could have derailed their efforts completely but Dinesh Karthik once again stepped up to the fore.
This season of the IPL has been brilliant for Dinesh Karthik. He has shown an excellent head for captaining a young side and transformed into one of the most reliable finishers in Indian cricket. There is plenty of competition in India for the wicketkeeping slot right now but Dinesh Karthik is ensuring that he is not going to be the one to miss out.
KKR must, however, try and avoid a repeat fo their top-order performance. SRH has an excellent bowling attack that will put them under pressure from the start and recovering from a difficult situation may not be possible against them.
KKR will also know that SRH has been going through batting difficulties of its own so a slightly under-par score could also work against them.
We are still waiting for that one inning from Chris Lynn that justifies all the hype around him but it looks like we may not get it this season. Robin Uthappa, Dinesh Karthik, and the big-hitting Andre Russell are the players that will be key for KKR in this encounter.
Uthappa at the top, Karthik in the middle, ad Russell providing the power at the end are all a very strong batting unit. If they get going then they could out-bat the Sunrisers with ease. They will also be aware of the fact their own bowling is nowhere near as potent as their opponents.
We have a strong feeling that KKR will prepare another slow wicket with some amount of turn in it to give Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, and Piyush Chawla the best chance to run through the opposition.
The fast bowling duties have to be burdened by an inexperienced Prasidh Krishna alongside Andre Russel who breaks down frequently. The risk that KKR is taking in such a situation is that Rashid Khan will become very difficult to face on a helpful surface but that may be a gamble they are willing to take.
If KKr is able to reach the finals with a young team, led by a rookie captain, and after having suffered multiple injuries then it would truly be a remarkable story.
SP Narine, Chris Lynn, RV Uthappa, Nitish Rana, Dinesh Karthik, Shubman Gill, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Kuldeep Yadav, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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A clear day with almost no chance of rain has been forecast for Kolkata. More interesting than the weather, though, will be the pitch. It took a fair amount of spin in the last match and made batting difficult. KKR has some quality spinners to take advantage of such a surface but SRH has arguably the T20 spinner in the world on their side. Kane Williamson, the SRH skipper, is also one of the best players of spin in this match.
We think that runs on the board will be the way to go here and that a score of 160 should be considered par.
KKR has won three out of the last five matches that they have played against SRH. Both the teams won one match each when they met in the regular season this year. KKR has a lot going for it, including the middle order performing well. SRH, on the other hand, can never be counted out thanks to its brilliant bowling side. It is bound to be a close match and we think that KKR will exploit home advantage to win the match.
Back Kolkata Knight Riders to win.