Precious play-off position on the line as Sunrisers Hyderabad host Kolkata Knight Riders

Uthappa's rise has helped breathe life back into Kolkata Knight Riders' season
Robin Uthappa of Kolkata Knight Riders, pictured during an Indian Premier League match against Delhi Daredevils on April 19, 2014, at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, has helped Kolkata revive their season. Pawan Singh / The National
Robin Uthappa of Kolkata Knight Riders, pictured during an Indian Premier League match against Delhi Daredevils on April 19, 2014, at Dubai International Cricket Stadium in Dubai, has helped Kolkata revive their season. Pawan Singh / The National

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.”

Manoj Narayan is a staff writer at Wisden India. Follow them on Twitter at @WisdenIndia or visit WisdenIndia.com for more on the IPL.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow The National on Twitter at @SprtNationalUAE

Published: May 17, 2014 04:00 AM

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