Hyderabad, May 18: Having moved ahead in the race for a playoff spot after a comfortable victory over Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad will now need to beat the beleaguered Kolkata Knight Riders in their final IPL league match here on Sunday (May 19) to finish among the top four.
Sunrisers have 18 points from 15 matches and they need to win the match on Sunday to enter the play-offs. KKR's title defence ended after their loss to Pune Warriors on May 15 but they would look to finish the season on a victorious note, a fact acknowledged by Sunrisers chief coach Tom Moody after his team's win over Rajasthan on Friday.
Though consistency has been a problem for KKR, they have some seasoned players in the form of captain Gautam Gambhir, all-rounders Yusuf Pathan and Jacques Kallis, Ryan ten Doeschate and L Balaji.
KKR messed up their chase against Pune Warriors on May 15 though Pathan and ten Doeschate were in impressive form and almost took their team to victory with a 98-run partnership.
Pathan, who scored 72 runs in the match, had a rather unusual dismissal of obstructing the field, the first in an IPL match.
Meanwhile, Sunrisers have a lethal bowling attack comprising world's best Dale Steyn, wily spinners Amit Mishra and Karan Sharma, Sri Lankas Thisara Perera and West Indies captain Darren Sammy - all of whom have been a nightmare for rival batsmen in this edition of IPL.
The hosts took full advantage of the wicket in Hyderabad that supports the bowlers and even a modest total became tough for the rivals to chase.
Except for the match against Chennai Super Kings on May 8, the Sunrisers have not lost a single game at home thanks to their combined bowling prowess.
The most recent proof of this was the Rajasthan Royals collapse at 113 yesterday while chasing 137 runs. Steyn, Mishra and Perera came up with superb two-wicket hauls each in the match to tame the Royals.
Given the strength of Sunrisers bowling, even a minor error by KKR would enable the hosts to get the required victory.
However, the Sunrisers batting appears lacking in consistency as their top order batsmen including Shikhar Dhawan, Cameron White and captain Kumar Sangakkara have not given a good account of themselves.
Though Dhawan has made big scores in a couple of matches, he needs to fire more often so that pressure is not piled up on the lower-order batsmen.
Sangakkara has had a poor run with the bat in the series leading to White captaining the side, but the Australian T20 specialist is yet to come up with his best.
However, young Hanuma Vihari, Thisara Perera, Parthiv Patel and Sammy have been shouldering the responsibility to steer the innings. Biplab Samantray, who has not had too many chances in the league stage, put up a great show - a 46-ball 55 - on Friday.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kumar Sangakkara (captain), Cameron White, Akshat Reddy, Amit Mishra, Anand Rajan, Ankit Sharma, Ashish Reddy, Biplab Samantray, Cameron White, Chris Lynn, Dale Steyn, Darren Sammy, Ravi Teja, Hanuma Vihari, Ishant Sharma, Karan Sharma, Nathan McCullum, Pathiv Patel, Prasant Padmanabhan, Quinton de Cock, Sachin Rana, Shikhar Dhawan, Sudeep Tyagi, T Sargunam, Thisara Perera and Veer Pratap Singh.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Manvinder Bisla, Yusuf Pathan, Jacques Kallis, Rajat Bhatia, Laxmipathy Balaji, Sarabjit Ladda, Brad Haddin, Debabrata Das, Iqbal Abdulla, Brett Lee, Ryan McLaren, Eoin Morgan, Sunil Narine, Sumit Narwal, Suchitra Senanayake, Pradeep Sangwan, Shami Ahmed, Shakib Al Hasan, Laxmi Ratan Shukla, Ryan ten Doeschate, Manoj Tiwary, James Pattinson.
Match starts at 8PM IST