Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will be hot favourites to do the double on defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad when the two sides lock horns in an Indian Premier League (IPL) clash at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Sunday.
KKR have looked to be the team to beat this season and are on a roll winning four back-to-back games. On Friday at the Eden Gardens, the men in purple swatted aside lacklustre Delhi Daredevils by seven wickets with 22 balls to spare.
At the forefront of the destruction was skipper Gautam Gambhir whose unbeaten 71 made sure he continued his rich vein of form. Robin Uthappa played a perfect foil once again, smashing a 33-ball 59.
The left-hand, right-hand pair have looked deadly in tandem coupled with the fiery bowling of Australian Nathan Coulter-Nile who has kept the more accomplished Trent Boult on the bench.
It is the manner in which KKR have decimated teams that makes them tournament favourites and against Hyderabad in their first meeting at the Eden, the two-time IPL champions had won by 17 runs.
KKR are top of the points table having 14 points from nine games and a win on Sunday should all but seal their play-offs berth.
Hyderabad, third in the table with 11 points from nine outings, have also played well so far, losing just thrice.
On Friday against Kings XI Punjab, skipper David Warner led from the front with a sparkling 27-ball 51 as Shikhar Dhawan (77) more than supported the dashing Australian left-hander.
New Zealand’s Kane Williamson’s whirlwind 27-ball 54 ensured the batting heavy side crossed the 200-mark and then restricted Punjab to 181/9 in 20 overs.
Wickets to Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has been at his imperious best with the most number of wickets in IPL 10 at 18, and Ashish Nehra augurs well for them against KKR who can do no wrong with the bat. Rashid Khan’s economical bowling should also help the men in orange.
Against Hyderabad, KKR have won seven times and lost just three in their 10 meetings so far.
Kolkata: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Manish Pandey, Suryakumar Yadav, Piyush Chawla, Robin Uthappa, Shakib Al Hasan, Chris Lynn, Umesh Yadav, Yusuf Pathan, Sheldon Jackson, Ankit Singh Rajpoot, Trent Boult, Chris Woakes, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rovman Powell, R Sanjay Yadav, Ishank Jaggi, Darren Bravo, Sayan Ghosh, Colin de Grandhomme
Hyderabad: David Warner (captain), Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Moises Henriques, Naman Ojha, Ricky Bhui, Kane Williamson, Siddarth Kaul, Bipul Sharma, Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh, Ben Cutting, Abhimanyu Singh, Mustafizur Rahman, Barinder Sran, Deepak Hooda, Vijay Shankar, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Siraj, Eklavya Dwivedi, Chris Jordan, Mohammad Nabi, Ben Laughlin, Tanmay Agarwal, Pravin Tambe