quick route to final

As KKR and SRH search for a short path to the finish, fire meets fire.

With the temperature recently rising above 45 degrees Celsius, fire meets fire in KKR, Ahmedabad. However, interestingly enough, that might not be all bad news. Rain has impacted some Indian Premier League matches recently, so people who are connected to the IPL are probably not going to be unhappy with the current trend of intense heat. Paradoxically, it might provide a welcome respite for the two crews still present at the location.

More of the same oppressive heat is predicted for Tuesday and Wednesday, the days that Qualifier 1 and the Eliminator will be played. This means that the matches will go on as scheduled. The local meteorological department has declared that the weather will be “hot with plenty of sun,” which is far too mild for the season. It has been scorching and infernally hot. However, you should try questioning the Kolkata Knight Riders, who were eliminated twice in a row, the most recent one occurring on May 13 at the Narendra Modi Stadium. The heat might not bother them.

The Knight Riders, the two-time champions who finished first in the points standings for the first time in 17 seasons, haven’t played a full 40-over game since May 5, so they lack match practice going into this important encounter. Shreyas Iyer’s team, who developed and invented a novel strategy for the IPL that is very similar to that of their opponents, Sunrisers Hyderabad, in Qualifier 1, may find this to be concerning. Taking no prisoners and playing at a high risk, both teams have completely changed the rules of the game.

As a result, it will be a match between two audacious, courageous, and winning teams, with a small margin of advantage going to Hyderabad, who are also vying for an IPL championship. The normal opener for Kolkata this season, Phil Salt, who got along well with fellow opener Sunil Narine, is not there because the Englishman is away on national duty. Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Narine might be partners in the game. This season, the Afghan has yet to hit a ball in a game.

However, SRH’s go-for-broke opening duo of Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head is still very much in place. Stranger things have happened in cricket, especially in the IPL, but the outcome of the match could depend on how well or poorly the sides line up in the first exchanges.

And there’s this aspect of bowling that helps Pat Cummins’s team. With Jaydev Unadkat and Marco Jansen as backups, the Hyderabad team has predominantly relied on its pacers, T Natarajan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Cummins. The Narendra Modi Stadium has primarily benefited the pacers. The main spinners in the Knight Riders’ repertoire have been Varun Chakaravarthy and Narine.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who leads the assault, has been a huge asset for Hyderabad. He was a little off at first but has come on during the second half of the league, and the Knight Riders haven’t exactly had Mitchell Starc, their main man, playing at full tilt. To win, Kolkata will need Starc, the most expensive purchase in IPL history with 12 wickets in 11 innings. If that’s not enough, KKR should be cautious given that Cummins and Head have fond memories of winning the ODI World Cup at this location from the previous year.

The neutrality in the stands, however, is the one thing that might not work for SRH. Prior to last year’s World Cup final, Cummins made a famous statement stating that nothing feels more rewarding than silencing 1.3 lakh fans. Tuesday night’s crowd might be just as large, but their enthusiasm for the opposition might not be as strong as it was on November 19, 2023.

When: May 21, 19:30 IST, IPL 2024, Kolkata Knight Riders vs. SunRisers Hyderabad

Where: Ahmedabad’s Narendra Modi Stadium

What to anticipate: Although it’s not a “do or die” game, neither team wants to lose because that would put them in that position. It will be a high-scoring game with the captain winning the toss electing to field, as most captains have done this season. The pitch is predicted to help the hitters.

Head-to-head: 9 SRH – KKR 17. Since 2020, the Knight Riders have won seven of their nine face-offs, demonstrating even greater dominance. Both teams have nearly identical postseason records: KKR has won eight games and lost five, while SRH has won five and lost six.

Collective Eye:

Knight Riders of Kolkata

Availability and Injuries: All players are available except for Phil Salt.

Strategies and Match-Ups: Abhishek Sharma and Travis Head are two of the select few batters who have had the advantage over Sunil Narine in their respective battles. The experienced spinner might be saved for use in the middle and late overs to try to contain Heinrich Klassen, who has an easier time against Varun Chakravarthy, the second KKR spinner.

In just ten balls, Andre Russell has already removed Abhishek thrice while only giving up 11 runs. If the West Indian takes the winning southpaw early, don’t be shocked.

Angkrish Raghuvanshi/Nitish Rana, Sunil Narine, Shreyas Iyer (c), Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Harshit Rana, and Varun Chakaravarthy are likely candidates for XII. Effective replacement: Vaibhav Arora

Hyderabad’s Sunrisers

Regarding injuries and availability, they are unharmed.

Strategies and Match-Ups: Andre Russell has struck at a little under 140 in four innings in Ahmedabad, not exactly a high scoring rate. The bowlers for SRH will try to get him to hit in the direction of the long square boundaries.

Presumptive XII: Pat Cummins (c), Abdul Samad, Shahbaz Ahmed, Travis Head, Abhishek Sharma, Nitish Reddy, Rahul Tripathi, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Sanvir Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, and Vijayakanth Viyaskanth [Transfer partner: T Natarajan]

As you may have known:

  • After being removed three times on ducks in previous IPL games in Ahmedabad, Sunil Narine has yet to score a run.
  • Andre Russell hasn’t taken a wicket in his four IPL appearances in Ahmedabad.
  • In three games in Ahmedabad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar has claimed nine wickets while conceding fewer than one run per delivery.