Take a small flashback into IPL 2018 and if you have to ask yourself which of these two teams have been better in this season, the obvious answer that will come to mind is Sunrisers Hyderabad. There has been no comparison really. Sunrisers began with 3 wins, lost a couple and then set out on a hot streak of 6 consecutive wins. Now, here’s the only little trouble they have. Even though they topped the IPL 2018 points table, SRH are coming into this IPL 2018 Qualifier 2 with four consecutive losses – three in the round robin and one in Qualifier 1 against Chennai.
One would think that SRH begin as favourites, coming into Qualifier 2 after finishing the leagues as table toppers and playing against a team that has had a very scratchy IPL 2018, only just managing to make it to the playoffs – Kolkata Knight Riders. Hyderabad have had a much better season but lets not forget that Kolkata have the momentum, and form. Hyderabad come into this game with 4 consecutive losses while Kolkata come into the game with 4 consecutive wins.
Head to Head
These two teams played at the start of this season of the Indian Premier League, and Sunrisers won that low-scoring game by 5 wickets, chasing 139. They then played last week towards the end of the season, where Kolkata batted second and won by 5 wickets, chasing 173. They are equal so far this year but one thing is for sure that the team winning the toss will want to bowl first again.
- Overall IPL head to head: Kolkata 9-5 Hyderabad
10 days ago, Hyderabad was the team to beat in IPL 2018, but now Kolkata is that team. Hyderabad have found themselves in the same position they were in at the start of this season – unable to find the right team combination. While Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson have proven to be consistent match winners, the team just cannot play a match dependent on only two batsmen. They brought in Alex Hales but dropped him 5 games later, only to pick Carlos Brathwaite, giving SRH a sixth bowling option which they didn’t ever need. His 43* in the last game means he will keep his place, and SRH will maintain their imbalance.
Apart from bringing Hales back in, I suggest no other changes in the SRH line up. While I am highly criticizing them and am expecting a KKR win, let’s not forget that all it takes for Hyderabad to reach the final is a moderately good batting performance. We saw they they almost managed to defend 139 in Qualifier 1 against Chennai. We saw KKR easily defend 169 in the Eliminator, so I’m pretty sure that Hyderabad will be happy if their batsmen are able to put on 150, if batting first.
- Kane Williamson (SRH) – 685 runs
- Dinesh Karthik (KKR) – 490 runs
- Siddarth Kaul (SRH) – 19 wickets
- Sunil Narine (KKR) – 16 wickets
Signs are pointing towards a Kolkata win, as momentum is much more important than big names on paper. Kolkata still have to make fixes in their batting line up, like a 350x better performance from the middle order (Uthappa and Rana) as the lower-middle order will not always clear up as they did in the Eliminator. I’m backing Kolkata to win here and go on to win the IPL 2018 trophy as well.
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