Precious play-off position on the line as Sunrisers Hyderabad host Kolkata Knight Riders
Sunrisers Hyderabad will look to boost their play-off hopes on Sunday when they face the Kolkata Knight Riders at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad.
The two sides are in the thick of a race for the fourth and final play-off spot, along with Royal Challengers Bangalore, and both know there is little room for error with four games left.
Kolkata are two points ahead of both Hyderabad and Bangalore.
Hyderabad will hope their bowling attack, billed as one of the strongest in this IPL, picks itself up after Dale Steyn, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and company failed to defend 205 on Wednesday against Kings XI Punjab.
Meanwhile, after a run of four losses, Kolkata have won three in a row, with both batting and bowling seemingly peaking at the right time. Sunil Narine was as stringent as ever, allowing four runs in the final over against the Mumbai Indians on Wednesday, to return one for 18 and help restrict them to 141.
Robin Uthappa, whose scoring had been largely in the 40s, went on to get a big score, hitting a stroke-filled, 59-ball 80 to help secure a six-wicket victory.
“He’s looked very good. He plays in a conventional manner, and he plays cricket shots,” said Trevor Bayliss, the Kolkata coach. “He times it beautifully, both front foot and back foot, and he’s very hard to contain once he gets his eye in.”
Kolkata have their fate in their hands. Carry on performing like they did against Mumbai, and a play-off spot looks likely.
However, if Hyderabad’s players manage to click in tandem, they will pose a huge threat.
“We’ve got to play very well to beat them, and they’ve got to play some good cricket to beat us as well,” Bayliss said. “It’s going to be a good contest between bat and ball.”
Follow The National on Twitter at @SprtNationalUAE
Published: May 17, 2014 04:00 AM