IPL 2018: Upbeat KKR ready for SRH battle in Qualifier 2

Two-time champions Kolkata will be aiming to exploit Hyderabad's recent run of poor form when the two teams square off in what promises to be a high-octane second Qualifier of the Indian Premier League on Friday.

IPL 2018: Upbeat KKR ready for SRH battle in Qualifier 2
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Kolkata: Two-time champions Kolkata will be aiming to exploit Hyderabad's recent run of poor form when the two teams square off in what promises to be a high-octane second Qualifier of the Indian Premier League on Friday.

While KKR ticked all the boxes during the business end of the tournament with four wins on the trot, SRH have been lacklustre of late. 

Call it complacency or the lack of performance from their middle-order, SRH have lost four straight games, something that will be a cause of concern for Kane Williamson's brigade.

Arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament with Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddarth Kaul and Sandeep Sharma delivering consistently along with the immensely talented Rashid Khan, SRH will like to extract whatever juice is available from the Eden Gardens track.

But with the momentum strongly in favour of Dinesh Karthik and Co who will also heavily bank on home advantage, it will need a special effort from the Williamson-led side to stop the Kolkata juggernaut and return to winning ways.

First to qualify for the play-offs eliminating Delhi, SRH's slide began in Pune, when their famed bowling attack failed to defend 180 against Chennai and then went on to lose to RCB, KKR and CSK in subsequent games.

Hyderabad's problem has been their batting which is heavily reliant on Williamson, the current 'Orange Cap' holder with 685 runs at 57.05 average.

Their latest defeat will hurt them the most as they had their match in pocket with Chennai struggling at 97/7 in 17 overs chasing 140 but Williamson's strategy to bowl Carlos Brathwaite at the death backfired.

The West Indian leaked 20 runs in the 18th over. 

Out for a 'golden duck' in the last match, Shikhar Dhawan (437 runs) will have to rise to the occasion but it is actually the middle order that has created problems for SRH.

Manish Pandey (284) and Yusuf Pathan (212) have been big flops and their inability to provide the necessary muscle in the middle overs is a concern.

There will be no such headache for Kolkata skipper Dinesh Karthik who will look to go unchanged unless there's any niggle in the lineup.

Surprise choice as Kolkata skipper after the departure of their most successful captain Gautam Gambhir, Karthik is in the form of his life averaging 54.44 from 15 matches.

Karthik will look to go full throttle in a standout season. KKR's biggest strength has been their ability to recover from tough situations.

On Wednesday night, opener Sunil Narine failed to give the team a fiery start but Andre Russell's 25-ball 49 not out ensured they had enough on the board against Rajasthan.

Narine was ineffective as a bowler too but the likes of Kuldeep Yadav (16 wickets) and Piyush Chawla (13 wickets) held on to their tasks, while Russell and young Prasidh Krishna led the pace attack.

The winners of this contest will face CSK in the IPL-11 summit clash in Mumbai on May 27.

Squads

Kolkata: Dinesh Karthik (c), Sunil Narine, Andre Russell, Chris Lynn, Robin Uthappa, Kuldeep Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Nitish Rana, Prasidh Krishna, Shivam Mavi, Mitchell Johnson, Shubman Gill, R. Vinay Kumar, Rinku Singh, Cameron Delport, Javon Searless, Apoorv Wankhade, Ishank Jaggi, Tom Curran.

Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (c), Shikhar Dhawan, Manish Pandey, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Wriddhiman Saha, Siddharth Kaul, Deepak Hooda, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Yusuf Pathan, Shreevats Goswami, Ricky Bhui, Basil Thampi, T Natarajan, Sachin Baby, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Tanmay Agarwal, Alex Hales, Carlos Brathwaite, Rashid Khan, Shakib Al Hasan, Mohammad Nabi and Chris Jordan.

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