IPL 2018 | Match 59 | SRH vs KKR: Kolkata Knight Riders will be clashing with the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Qualifiers 2 match at Eden Gardens tonight. This is basically the semi-final match which will decide who will face the Chennai Super Kings at the Wankhede Stadium for the finals on Sunday. 

There is much to be said about the venue itself. Eden Gardens has proved to be extremely lucky if not favorable for the Dinesh Karthik-led side. Most teams have not been able to break the winning streak KKR has been having in this venue for years. 

SRH secured a top-of-the-table rank as they were the first to grab a seat in the playoffs with six wins on their tail. Now, they’re coming off of four successive defeats as they battle it out to make it to the finals after an excellent season. They may be feeling a little jittery now with their “undefeatable” air disappearing. 

The team is getting a little too dependent on their captain, Kane Williamson, batting-wise. Even a minor mistake from his side brings the army down to a defeat. Their close loss with the Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifiers was brought up due to many reasons including the captain’s decisions regarding the bowlers. They will have to rectify these mistakes and become stronger in terms of batting to sail through the final matches. 

Shikhar Dhawan will be expected to put up a performance against the KKR spinners tonight. He has been the second-highest scoring batsman in the team for four centuries this season. Eden Gardens is known for being a little dry, making it suitable for the spin bowlers. Dhawan has the ability to take on the spin bowling and bring KKR to its knees if he is in the right state of mind and form. 

Manish Pandey will be expected to take care of the middle order. SRH has arguably the best bowling attack in the tournament but their bowling can’t be their only savior in a game like this so it is important for them to either secure a high total and defend or chase a good total.

KKR, on the other hand, has had a very inconsistent season but remained in the upper half of the table throughout. The third team to get into the playoffs, they just secured four successive wins and are confident with their performances so far. 

They have Dinesh Karthik, Sunil Narine, and Andre Russell to take care of the batting side. The only glitch in the batting line-up is Javon Searles who hasn’t been playing much this season, placed at number eight. He may or may not be replaced by Tom Curran or Mitchell Johnson. Cameron Delport hasn’t had a chance to play at all this season and KKR may not be willing to take the risk for the crucial game tonight. 

This is going to be a match for the bowlers with a gamble between the spinners and pacers. As mentioned before, Eden Gardens is spinner-friendly with KKR have the spin trio – Kuldeep Yadav, Sunil Narine and Piyush Chawla and SRH with their spin duo – Rashid Khan and Shakib Al Hasan. The KKR pacers, Prasidh Krishna and Andre Russell and the SRH pacers, Siddharth Kaul, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Sandeep Sharma will be assisting them on their way. KKR’s set of five has taken 69 wickets so far while the SRH bowlers have taken 70. They are neck-to-neck with vicious bowlers so it will be a matter of how the batsmen can handle the opponents and the pitch tonight.  

It looks like KKR has the upper hand here but after SRH’s performance in the first half of the season, it’s difficult to write them off. They might just bounce back tonight right when it matters and goes on to win the trophy.

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