By Prakash Govindasreenivasan
Hyderabad: May 18, 2013
The Sunrisers Hyderabad will be eyeing the fourth playoffs spot as they host the defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders in their last league match of the Indian Premier League 2013 at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Sunday.
The hosts will be buoyed by their 23-run victory over Rajasthan Royals on Friday that has strengthened their chances of finished ahead of the Royal Challengers Bangalore at the fourth spot in the points table.
However, if Virat Kohli’s team wins their final game against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday, the pressure could be on Cameron White-led Hyderabad to muster another win.
At the moment, Hyderabad have nudged past Bangalore to take the fourth spot but if the latter wins their final tie and Hyderabad loses to Kolkata, Bangalore will most likely go through with a superior Net Run Rate.
As far as Cameron White is concerned, he will tell his team not to consider the result of the RCB-CSK tie and play with the mentality to register another win before heading into the playoffs.
As for the Kolkata Knight Riders, they have endured a tough season and Gautam Gambhir will be itching to end it on a high. They have a chance to play party poopers for Hyderabad.
The Kolkata side were unfortunate to lose to Pune Warriors India by seven runs after Yusuf Pathan’s ‘obstructing the field’ dismissal in the dying moments of the game turned the match on its head. On the positive side, Yusuf finally found his long-lost form and did well for his 44-ball 72.
It has been one of those seasons where Kallis hasn’t clicked with the bat. The big South African had done well with the willow in previous editions but has played more as a bowling allrounder in IPL 2013. Gambhir will hope to see him perform in the final game to help his team end with a victory.
Hyderabad’s batting is still as shaky as it was at the start of the tournament. Shikhar Dhawan’s mid-season return to the side helped them in a couple of matches but there have been way too many top-order collapses. The game against Kolkata will give them a chance to arrest that issue, before heading into the knockout stages where they cannot afford to rely solely on their bowling attack.
Hyderabad will probably keep their winning combination intact and not try to tinker too much ahead of the playoffs. As for Kolkata, they too will put their best eleven forward to bow out having salvaged some pride.
The visitors will have nothing to lose while the home side will have everything to play for. Both sides are used to playing in low-scoring conditions. A victory for RCB could put a lot of weight on the game between SRH and KKR to make it an interesting encounter. Hyderabad seems stronger but Kolkata will play with much more freedom.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (probable): Parthiv Patel (wk), Shikhar Dhavan, Hanuma Vihari, Cameron White (c), Biplab Samantray, Darren Sammy, Thisara Perera, Karan Sharma, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Dale Steyn
Kolkata Knight Riders (probable): Gautam Gambhir (c), Manvinder Bisla (wk), Jacques Kallis, Yusuf Pathan, Ryan ten Doeschate, Manoj Tiwary, Debabrata Das, Rajat Bhatia, Sachitra Senanayake, Sunil Narine, Lakshmipathy Balaji
Time: 20.00 hrs | 14.30 GMT
(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)
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