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Qualifier 1 (N), Ahmedabad, May 21, 2024, Indian Premier League
(13.4/20 ov, T:160) 164/2

KKR won by 8 wickets (with 38 balls remaining)

Player Of The Match
Cricinfo's MVP
102.01 ptsImpact List

Batting powerhouses collide as KKR, SRH set their eyes on IPL final spot

The two sides have not met since their respective season openers in March, which KKR won by four runs

Deivarayan Muthu

Match details

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, Qualifier 1
Ahmedabad, 1930 IST (1400 GMT)

Big picture: Two batting powerhouses collide

Two of the quickest-scoring teams in this IPL could produce another run-fest in the first qualifier in Ahmedabad, especially if it serves up a bouncy, red-soil track. Phil Salt has left the IPL but Kolkata Knight Riders still have enough power in the form of Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Rinku Singh. Travis Head, Abhishek Sharma and Heinrich Klaasen can certainly match up to that power or even overpower KKR.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have also figured out an aggressive No.3 option in Rahul Tripathi to strengthen their top order. But can they dial down their aggression and still find a way, if Ahmedabad throws up a slow, black-soil turner? In March, which seems ages go, SRH managed only 162 for 8 on a black-soil surface that suited Gujarat Titans' spinners.
Regardless of the colour and nature of the surface, Narine and Varun Chakravarthy have the pedigree to take wickets or restrict the opposition. But KKR will have to rock up cold on Tuesday, having endured washouts in their last two league matches, including one in Ahmedabad. Especially, Rahmanullah Gurbaz, Salt's like-for-like replacement, who has not featured in IPL 2024 and last played cricket in mid-March.
It was back on May 11 that KKR had confirmed their place in the playoffs after beating Mumbai Indians in a truncated game at home. They haven't been in action since and it might not be easy to hit the ground running after a ten-day break, table-toppers or otherwise.

Form guide

Kolkata Knight Riders WWWWL (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Sunrisers Hyderabad WWLWL

Previous meeting

Head didn't even play the last time these two sides met, with SRH picking Marco Jansen ahead of him. Harshit Rana stopped Klaasen and SRH in the last over, earning a four-run victory for KKR at Eden Gardens. In the early half of the season, chasing was a concern for KKR, but they've remedied that heading into the playoffs.

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Kolkata Knight Riders
Nitish Rana is fit again and could stay in the team as an Impact Player option, in place of one of the specialist bowlers, having scored 33 off 23 balls against MI in Kolkata. KKR, though, might have to choose between left-arm fingerspinner Anukul Roy and right-arm seamer Vaibhav Arora.
Probable XII: 1 Sunil Narine, 2 Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), 3 Shreyas Iyer (capt), 4 Venkatesh Iyer, 5 Nitish Rana, 6 Rinku Singh, 7 Andre Russell, 8 Ramandeep Singh, 9 Mitchell Starc, 10 Anukul Roy/Vaibhav Arora, 11 Harshit Rana, 12 Varun Chakravarthy
Sunrisers Hyderabad
SRH have been fairly consistent with their Impact Player strategy with one of the batters slotting in for T Natarajan. Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, the young legspinner from Jaffna, has done fairly well in his two IPL outings and could keep his place unless SRH want to bring back Aiden Markram for his steady batting and offspin against a potentially left-hander heavy KKR middle order. Jaydav Unadkat for his change-ups is another option.
Probable XII: 1 Travis Head, 2 Abhishek Sharma, 3 Rahul Tripathi, 4 Nitish Kumar Reddy, 5 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 6 Shahbaz Ahmed, 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Sanvir Singh, 9 Pat Cummins (capt), 10 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 11 Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, 12 T Natarajan

In the spotlight: Rinku Singh and T Natarajan

After torching IPL 2023 with his finishing skills, Rinku Singh hasn't had many opportunities to do that in IPL 2024. He also could not find a place in India's main squad for the upcoming T20 World Cup. He has faced only 113 balls in 11 innings this season at a healthy strike rate of 148.67. That might pale in comparison to some of the heavy hitters that will be on display on Tuesday, but count Rinku out at your own peril.
T Natarajan was taken to the cleaners by Ayush Badoni, but he bounced back against Punjab Kings, coming away with 2 for 33 in his four overs, in a 215 vs 214 game. His bowling isn't just about the yorker anymore - he has also developed a deceptive slower bouncer to handcuff batters in the middle and death overs. Natarajan, though, will have to be wary of Russell, who has taken him for 43 off 26 balls for just one wicket at a strike rate of 165.38 in the IPL.

Stats that matter

  • Bhuvneshwar Kumar has a favourable match-up against Narine, dismissing him twice in 25 balls while keeping him to just 28 runs in the IPL.
  • No spinner has taken more wickets than Varun's 38 in 26 IPL innings since the 2023 season started.
  • Narine is four hits away from 100 IPL sixes. Thirty-two of those have come this season. His opponent Abhishek is the top six-hitter this IPL with 41.
  • According to ESPNcricinfo's logs, Bhuvneshwar has bowled 31 yorkers in IPL 2024. Only Jasprit Bumrah (56) has bowled more yorkers this season. Avesh Khan has also hit the blockhole 31 times, with Natarajan (27) slotting not too far behind.

Pitch and conditions

Red soil or black soil? The answer to this question could determine the composition of the teams. The previous game in Ahmedabad was a washout, but the weather is expected to be hot and dry for Tuesday.

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Win Probability
KKR 100%
100%50%100%SRH InningsKKR Innings

Over 14 • KKR 164/2

KKR won by 8 wickets (with 38 balls remaining)
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