Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad have both had a poor campaign so far. It reflects in their standing in the points table as they are right down at the bottom alongside Delhi Capitals. But what the table also suggests is that all is not lost, at least for now. The race at the moment is so tight that even Delhi Capitals are not out of contention for a playoff berth despite beginning the tournament with five straight defeats.
KKR’s form has fallen off after making a bright start and SRH on the other hand have been very erratic. However, the side that picks up a win on Thursday will fancy their chances of staging a late comeback to join the rest of the teams in the battle for a playoff spot.
When the teams clashed previously this season, Eden Gardens witnessed a high-scoring game in which Harry Brook finally managed to set the IPL on fire with a blistering century. However, the task for Brook is set to be more challenging this time around. After pairing up Mayank Agarwal and Abhishek Sharma up top again, SRH would be ill advised to make more changes. They have already made way too many alterations at the top that has resulted in instability. But Brook in the middle may have to face a barrage of spin against the KKR spin trio, especially if there is a batting collapse.
SRH do have other batters to tackle that spin trio though. Overall, on balance and on paper, they definitely are the more superior outfit. However, KKR can take solace from the fact that SRH have won only once so far at home. While they lost to Gujarat Titans in their most recent encounter, runs from the bat of Rahmanullah Gurbaz and Andre Russell in particular are certainly positive. Russell has grown frustrated in recent times over his batting position and now there is certainly a case for him to get promoted to at least No.5. While the winner of this clash will keep their hopes alive, the loser will become the first side this season to register their seventh loss. Comebacks are not guaranteed beyond that point.
Probable XI: Abhishek Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram (C), Harry Brook, Heinrich Klaasen (WK), Abdul Samad, Marco Jansen, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mayank Markande, Umran Malik.
Probable XI: Jason Roy, Rahmanullah Gurbaz (WK), Venkatesh Iyer, Nitish Rana (C), Andre Russell, Rinku Singh, Shardul Thakur, Sunil Narine, Harshit Rana, Varun Chakaravarthy, Suyash Sharma.