Today there will be a battle of Qualifier 1 between Kolkata and Hyderabad…

The Uncut

Kolkata Knight Riders, who are in excellent form, will face Sunrisers Hyderabad, the team that has scored a lot of runs this season, in the first qualifier of IPL on Tuesday. Both the teams showed aggressive play in this season. The team that wins this match will directly enter the final to be held in Chennai on May 26, while the losing team will get one more chance to enter the final as the second qualifier along with the winning team of the eliminator.

KKR was the first team to reach the IPL playoffs this year, while Sunrisers finished second after defeating Punjab Kings by four wickets in the last league match. These teams, which were in the top two positions in 70 matches of the league stage, have got a good break due to rain in the last 10 days. However, the challenge of not being able to spend much time on the field before the playoffs is also difficult.

KKR and Sunrisers, who have travelled hundreds of kilometres to reach here, will not get much time to acclimatise to the conditions. Both of them played their last league match on Sunday. Although Sunrisers played the full match and defeated Punjab, the match between KKR and Rajasthan Royals could not be held due to rain. KKR played its last full match on 11 May. Before the rain interruption, KKR had won four consecutive matches, but the last two matches were washed out due to rain.

KKR may suffer from lack of salt

Top-ranked KKR will miss wicketkeeper-batsman Phil Salt (435 runs) who has returned home to join the England team before the T20 World Cup. Salt and Sunil Narine (461) have given a great start to KKR. Captain Shreyas Iyer (287 runs) could not impress in the middle order, but his absence was not missed by the team. Due to the match against Royals being washed out due to rain, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, who came in the team in place of Salt, could not get practice, which will worry the KKR camp. It is also very important for KKR for Nitish Rana and Andre Russell to be in form.

Head-Abhishek pair important for Hyderabad

On paper, KKR and Sunrisers seem to be equal teams, which has made this match more exciting. Both Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma have set a string of records by scoring runs at a strike rate of over 200. Australia’s Head has created a new definition of aggressive batting and so far has scored 533 runs including one century and four half-centuries. Along with him, Abhishek (467 runs) has also played freely and hit 41 sixes in the IPL so far. Sunrisers have a reliable batsman like Rahul Tripathi at number three. Heinrich Klaasen has returned to form and scored 42 runs against Punjab.

The team chasing the target will have the advantage

Last year in the ODI World Cup final in Ahmedabad, it was seen that the team batting later gets more success. After four out of six, the team chasing the target has been successful. KKR has excellent spinners along with fast bowlers led by Mitchell Starc, while Sunrisers’ bowling is led by captain Pat Cummins. In their last match this season, KKR had defeated Sunrisers by four runs.

Kolkata Knight Riders: Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Sunil Narine, Angkrish Raghuvanshi/Nitish Rana, Shreyas Iyer (captain), Venkatesh Iyer, Rinku Singh, Andre Russell, Ramandeep Singh, Mitchell Starc, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakravarthy (Impact Sub: Vaibhav Arora)

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Travis Head, Abhishek Sharma, Nitish Reddy, Rahul Tripathi, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Abdul Samad, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pat Cummins (c), Sanvir Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Vijayakanth Vyaskanth (Impact Sub: T Natarajan)

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