Kolkata Knight Riders v Sunrisers Hyderabad, IPL 2016, Eliminator, Delhi May 24, 2016

Russell's return gives KKR the edge in eliminator

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Match facts

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Start time 2000 local (1430 GMT)

Play 04:13
Cullinan: Time for Sunrisers' middle to back up Warner

Big Picture

Sunrisers Hyderabad had the top spot in the points table with two games left. Kolkata Knight Riders were behind them. One bad game was enough to turn the tables, with both sides losing an opportunity to have a second crack at the final. After being comprehensively beaten by Knight Riders on a rank turner in Kolkata, Sunrisers will be hoping for a turn in fortunes in the eliminator, on what is expected to be another slow Feroz Shah Kotla surface.

Sunrisers' fielding lapses consigned them to a last-ball loss against Delhi Daredevils before they lost to Knight Riders. Knight Riders were thumped by six wickets on a green surface by Gujarat Lions in Kanpur, but banked on home advantage to win their final game and finish fourth.

Knight Riders could be buoyed by the return of their MVP, nay T20's MVP, Andre Russell, who missed the last two games because of a leg injury. He could be rusty, though, and a tad worn out as a part of the Knight Riders squad arrived in Delhi by road from Jaipur on Tuesday morning, after their flight had to be diverted because of bad weather. Having already won the Bangladesh Premier League, Pakistan Super League, Big Bash League and World T20, Russell has an opportunity to lay his hands on a fifth T20 title in six months.

But to say Knight Riders are only about Russell would be misleading. In his absence, the middle order had mixed power with smarts. Yusuf Pathan and Manish Pandey used an off-stump guard to hit against the spin of Karn Sharma and the cutters of Mustafizur Rahman in Kolkata. The Knight Riders spinners then left Sunrisers' weak middle order in a straightjacket, after David Warner had a rare failure. If Warner fails again in the eliminator, can the middle order find an escape route?

Form guide

Sunrisers Hyderabad LLWLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Kolkata Knight Riders WLWWL

In the spotlight

Sunil Narine may have been subdued over the last month or so, but is peaking at the business end of the competition for Knight Riders. He dismissed Royal Challengers' Chris Gayle with a skidder, while the ball he bowled to dismiss Gujarat Lions' Brendon McCullum - a seam-up inswinger - showed that variations are still a part of his repertoire, even with a remodelled action. Narine's 3 for 26 on Sunday against Sunrisers was his best figures this season.

Yuvraj Singh will be playing his first IPL knockout game since the semi-final in 2008. Apart from two cameos - his 42 not out off 24 balls against Kings XI Punjab has been his biggest contribution - he is yet to strike big.

Team news

Kane Williamson has managed only 124 runs in six matches at a strike rate of just a shade over 100. Eoin Morgan's strike rate of 117.14 in seven games isn't inspiring either. Deepak's Hooda's patchy form has exposed the middle order further. Sunrisers, however, are likely to persist with the same batting line-up. There could be a change on the bowling front, though, with legspinner Karn Sharma likely to make way for way for seam-bowling allrounder Ashish Reddy or left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (probable): 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kane Williamson/Eoin Morgan, 4 Deepak Hooda, 5 Yuvraj Singh, 6 Naman Ojha (wk), 7 Moises Henriques, 8 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Barinder Sran, 10 Karn Sharma/Ashish Reddy/Bipul Sharma, 11 Mustafizur Rahman

Russell is likely to replace his West Indies team-mate Jason Holder, while Morne Morkel may return in place of Colin Munro. Knight Riders are also likely to persist with left-arm wristspinner Kuldeep Yadav over legspinner Piyush Chawla.

Kolkata Knight Riders (probable): 1 Gautam Gambhir (capt), 2 Robin Uthappa (wk), 3 Manish Pandey, 4 Suryakumar Yadav, 5 Yusuf Pathan, 6 Shakib Al Hasan, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Morne Morkel, 9 Kuldeep Yadav/Piyush Chawla, 10 Sunil Narine, 11 Ankit Rajpoot

Pitch and conditions

The Feroz Shah Kotla surface has traditionally offered grip and turn for the slow bowlers. Three of five games at this venue have been won by the side batting first. But with Raipur hosting the last leg of Delhi Daredevils' home games, a fresh surface could offer better value for the batsmen.

Wednesday is expected to be a warm day, with chances of showers in the afternoon.

Stats and trivia

  • Sunrisers have the lowest economy rate in the Powerplay - 6.73. Knight Riders' 7.41 is the second lowest
  • Russell is the leading wicket-taker in T20s in 2016 with 49 wickets in 35 matches. Mustafizur is fourth on the list with 32 wickets in 22 matches

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • cricfan53744628 on May 25, 2016, 22:19 GMT

    The IPL is drawing to a close and the excitement provided throughout will be gone for another year. There is a unique aspect about the Premier League sports that deserves mention. All sports events contested between teams represent their countries and are based on patriotism. Even sports like tennis & golf that are individualistic are nationality based. But Cricket was the pioneer in creating Premier leagues in the various cricket playing countries that forms teams made up of players based on skill rather than nationality. This also brings together fans of different countries cheering for teams irrespective of the constituent players. In these times of turmoil, what better way to bring about unity among people of different nationalities! All credit to the brains behind the creation of premier league sports.

  • cricfan22691069 on May 25, 2016, 18:05 GMT

    KKR was already behind SHR in points and SHR sustained their position. Today's match was seems to be very stressful as loser would be eliminated. As per Krickoo cricket android app's scoreboard, KKR had a great start and stopped SRH on an average target of T20 but SRH retaliate with aggressive bowling attack and smashes the KKR's batting line. Even the strong support of Russell was unable to help KKR

  • criccket.lover on May 25, 2016, 14:26 GMT

    KKR is winning tonight because... Recipe for winning an IPL9 match: win the toss -> choose to chase -> win the match

  • Zeus7 on May 25, 2016, 14:08 GMT

    @AJOURNEYER: Someone would be incredibly stupid not to play Sunil Narain. Munro has done nothing in in IPL to deserve a place in a eliminator. Also Holder a better option than Morkel who only knows how to bowl short/short of good length stuff. IPL/T20 needs bowlers who has variation and not just one type of bowling.

  • cooljack_143 on May 25, 2016, 14:00 GMT

    Folks listen Ben cutting is out with heat stroke, so don't ask for his inclusion in the team. SRH think tank is not delirious to not have seen the way he played .there is a reason why he isn't picked. And as far as karn sharma is concerned Mr.Muthaih muralitharan has seen something which we all haven't seen. He is sure to play today , so has Deepak Hooda -tom moody factor ,youngster factor.they feel he is much better option than ashish ,so no point in asking for changes they r big going to do any changes for the team. Both teams known to stick with their core players through out the tournament . Let's see what happens today .

  • Sid BC on May 25, 2016, 13:46 GMT

    @PITCH_CURATOR May b yes! If any one could deliver a standout performance yes the respective team may sail over.. but you gotta agree that the traditional pitch in Delhi suits more to the KKR spinners than SRH pace bowling..if it turns out to be a fresh wicket it will be a test between SRH pacers and KKR batsmen!

  • Nampally on May 25, 2016, 12:59 GMT

    SRH are in the fight of their survival! The batting after Warner & Dhawan has been non existent in the SRH side which has caused them to slide to 3rd spot instead of the first. They have the team to advance but relying entirely on Warner & Dhawan to contribute high octane runs has been their drawback. Cutting impressed me in the only match he played. So Cutting & Henriques should be the 2 pros. apart from Fizz & Warner. Ashish Reddy has been ignored. He should bat high along with Hooda to do the fast scoring. Cutting, Yuvraj & Henriques can do the finishers' job. Without Nehra, Sran, Kumar, Fizz & Henriques do the pacers job + Yuvraj & Hooda can bowl 4 overs of spin along with Ashish Reddy as back up. Team work with good catching & fielding will be crucial for SRH to Win. They have a winning team. Believe in yourselves & give it all. Good Luck, SRH - Lets Go Guys!

  • ullasjp on May 25, 2016, 12:55 GMT

    How funny this cricket is? The team leading the bottom half pack is in the finals already and table toppers are fighting for semifinal place.

  • cricfan87720731 on May 25, 2016, 12:30 GMT

    no it's clear for now in Delhi and think even if rain comes it won't last too long. Maximum 10-15 mins of rain affairs. so cheers!!!

  • aJourneyer on May 25, 2016, 12:29 GMT

    SRH have to go with Warner-Dhawan-Ojha-Morgan-Yuvraj-Reddy-Suman-Cutting-Bhuvi-Sran-Fizz

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