Kolkata: Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be aiming to exploit Sunrisers Hyderabad’s recent run of poor form when the two teams square off in what promises to be a high-octane second Qualifier of the Indian Premier League, here on Friday. While KKR ticked all the boxes during the business end of the tournament with four wins on the trot, table-toppers Sunrisers have slipped after finishing on top of the league table. Call it complacency or the lack of performance from their middle-order, Sunrisers have lost four straight games, something that will be a cause of concern for Kane Williamson’s brigade.
Arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma delivering consistently along with the immensely talented Rashid Khan, Sunrisers will like to extract whatever juice is available from the Eden Gardens track. But with the momentum strongly in favour of Dinesh Karthik and Co who will also heavily bank on home advantage, it will need a special effort from the Kane Williamson-led side to stop the Kolkata juggernaut and return to winning ways. First to qualify for the play-offs eliminating Delhi Daredevils, Sunrisers’ slide began in Pune, when their famed bowling attack failed to defend 180 against Chennai and then went on to lose to RCB, KKR and CSK in subsequent games.
There will be no such headache for Kolkata skipper Dinesh Karthik who will look to go unchanged unless there’s any niggle in the lineup. Surprise choice as Kolkata skipper after the departure of their most successful captain Gautam Gambhir, Dinesh Karthik is in the middle of the form of his life averaging 54.44 from 15 matches. Two wins shy of winning the title, Karthik will look to go full throttle in a standout season for the softspoken Tamil Nadu cricketer.