Kolkata: The line has been drawn. The Knights (Kolkata Knight Riders) are all set to battle the Orange Army (Sunrisers Hyderabad) in the winner takes all encounter at Eden Gardens on Friday.
The two-time champions (KKR) square off against one of the best bowling attacks of this years edition (SRH) and the winner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) Qualifier 2 gets a chance to face Chennai Super Kings in the final, which will be played at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday.
Both the teams come into the crucial encounter with mixed fortune. While KKR beat Rajasthan Royals by 25 runs on Wednesday, Sunrisers suffered a heartbreaking 2 wicket loss to finalist Chennai Super Kings at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Tuesday.
The Kane Williamson led side has been one of the best teams of the tournament. Having finished the league on top of the points table, the team from Hyderabad are currently on 4 match losing streak.While the top order has been scoring runs, the middle order has failed to deliver with the bat, which has hurt the team in crucial games.
Opener Shikhar Dhawan (437 runs) and skipper Kane Williamson (685 runs) who is currently the orange cap holder, will shoulder the batting responsibilities. The form of explosive batsmen like Manish Pandey (284 runs) and Yusuf Pathan (212 runs) in the middle order will be a concern for SRH.
Their bowling quartet of Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul, Sandeep Sharma and Rashid Khan has tormented other teams throughout the tournament and once again they will have the responsibility to dismantle KKR batting lineup.
Kolkata Knight Riders
The two-time champions are currently on the four-match unbeaten run. Dinesh Karthik and co have upped their game when it mattered the most and scrapped through to the playoffs. Their biggest strength has been the team effort and not rely on individual brilliance.
The batting responsibility will once again be shouldered by skipper Dinesh Karthik, who is in the form of his life. The Tamil Nadu batsman has scored 490 runs so far in the tournament. Openers Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn will the key during the powerplays, while Robin Uthappa will have to bring all his experience on the table in the crunch game.
Young Shubman Gill has performed well in patches, while Andre Russel has played the finisher’s role to perfection.
The bowling department will be led by Sunil Narine (16 wickets), who will be ably supported by Kuldeep Yadav (15 wickets) and Piyush Chawla (13 wickets. Pacers Andre Russell and young Prasidh Krishna have also chipped in with wickets respectively.
Both teams won each in the round-robin league. And with final at stake, both the sides will be leaving no stone unturned to win the match and face MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings in the summit clash in Mumbai on May 27....