KKR look to clinch spot in play-offs

Sunil Narine has been a key perfomer for KKR.

Kolkata Knight Riders will look to seal a play-offs spot when they take on hosts Sunrisers Hyderabad, who will fancy their chances despite coming off a defeat, in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.

Currently occupying the top spot with nine wins from 13 matches, Sunrisers are coming into the game following a 14-run loss to Royal Challengers Bangalore in a high-scoring match, but the home team can take confidence from their impressive showing in the season so far.

Two-time champions KKR are placed third in the standings with seven wins in 13 outings. They have 14 points and a victory at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Saturday will confirm their place in the top four.

After Sunrisers' dismal performance against RCB with the ball, which has been one of their strong points this season, the hosts will be eager to correct the flaws as they brace up to face another tough opponent.

Sunrisers are likely to ring in a couple of changes and pacer Basil Thampi, who bowled the most expensive four overs in the history of IPL against RCB, could be one of the axed players. Thampi leaked 70 runs in his quota of four overs, surpassing the previous record held by Ishant Sharma.

While the bowlers were taken to task by the likes of AB de Villiers and Moeen Ali, Sunrisers showed a lot of heart while batting, coming within touching distance of a famous win.

Aggregating over 600 runs this season, skipper Kane Williamson has led the side from the front, and he will look to do it again. The 81 off 42 balls against RCB was Williamson's eighth fifty-plus score in IPL 2018.

Having missed out against RCB, opener Shikhar Dhawan will be keen to get a big one against the Knight Riders. Manish Pandey, who blazed away to a half-century against Virat Kohli's bowlers, will look to continue in the same vein.

In bowling, pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who was not played in the last game, could be back alongside Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul and Shakib Al Hasan.

As far as KKR is concerned, one player whose confidence will be sky high going into the match is Kuldeep Yadav, who starred with four wickets in the team's comfortable win over Rajasthan Royals. The likes of Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine and skipper Dinesh Karthik will hold the key to KKR's fortunes.

 

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KKR look to clinch spot in play-offs

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