Not too many times in the past seasons of the Indian Premier League have we reached the penultimate day and battles for the last playoff spots are still on. IPL 2018 has been one of the closest seasons of the tournament and this game is as important as any of the others. Sunrisers Hyderabad were the first team to qualify while Kolkata Knight Riders are still battling it out with Rajasthan, Bangalore, Mumbai, and Punjab for the final two spots.
A team like Kolkata shouldn’t have been in this position but while there have been great individual performances, they have found it tough to perform on a consistent basis. One thing that will be encouraging is that they have won their last two matches this season, while Hyderabad are coming into this games with two consecutive losses, against Chennai and then against Bangalore. Could be a good game!
A negative net run rate is Kolkata’s only worry about qualifying, even if they lose this game. They will aim on bettering their last performance against Sunrisers at the start of the season, where they only managed 138 batting first, and lost by 5 wickets. Their batting hasn’t been too reliable – Narine is a hit out or get out batsman, Uthappa finds a fielder even though he plays beautiful strokes, Rana has fizzled off after a great start to the season, while captain DK is the only rock in that batting order.
KKR will be looking to capitalize on the fact that Sunrisers have lost their last two games in IPL 2018. However, they should also realizes that SRH has put up 180+ twice, in both those losses. Now this is scary when you know that batting is not SRH’s stronger suit. Hales, Williamson and Dhawan were the three vital wickets but Manish Pandey’s 62* in the last game is an encouraging sign closing in on the playoffs. Kane Williamson’s wicket will be vital to both teams.
Williamson has four consecutive fifties to his name, a record 8 fifties in the season and a huge tally of 625 runs so far. What plans do KKR have in place against him? How do they get him out? SRH on the other hand will be hoping he doesn’t get out as the team has been batting around beautiful innings by him, regardless of batting first or batting second. Kolkata lead the head to head tally between these two teams in the Indian Premier League, 8-5.
Remember, Kolkata have won the IPL title twice in the past so they aren’t a team that falters under pressure. They will take this game as a virtual quarter final while Sunrisers will take this game seriously as well, as they won’t want to go into the playoffs having three consecutive losses. I’m backing Kolkata Knight Riders to win and keep the competition alive this season. Check out the post match show from the last time these two played: