IPL 2018 Qualifier 2, SRH vs KKR: Who will win the knockout encounter and face CSK in the final?

Sahil Jain

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The 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is coming to end as two games remain (second Qualifier and the big Final). Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) battled it out in the first Qualifier where the former emerged victorious in a nail-biting encounter and went through to the final.

However, since SRH finished the league stage in the top two, they get two bites at the cherry and hence have a second chance to qualify for the final against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) who managed to beat Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator on Wednesday (May 23).

KKR have been on a roll of late. After being inconsistent for major part of the tournament where they won and lost quite frequently, they have gathered some nice momentum heading into the business end of the season.

After they beat Rajasthan Royals by 25 runs in the Eliminator, they now have won four on the bounce and are looking very good. They have found ways to get out of tricky situations and are now looking very confident.

SRH, on the other hand, were superb in the first 11 games of the season where they won 9 of them. However, they’ve lost their last four games and have been winless since May 10, the game where they beat Delhi Daredevils comfortably chasing down 188.

But they were excellent in the first Qualifier where they almost got past CSK and defended 140 before Faf du Plessis and Shardul Thakur took it away from them. SRH have been one of the better teams this season and the Kane Williamson-led side will be looking to turn things around and make use of their second chance by qualifying for the final.

KKR did manage to beat SRH in the recent league fixture on Saturday (May 19) by 5 wickets when they chased down 173. But that was a league game and in this second Qualifier, there’s everything to play for as KKR look to make their 3rd IPL final while SRH are aiming to play their 2nd IPL final in 3 years.

Date: 15th May 2018

Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

Time: 7.00 PM IST

If KKR bat first

Predicted Score: 165+

KKR’s top-order failed to perform in the Eliminator on what seemed like a tricky surface. But Sunil Narine and Chris Lynn have been very good this season. Narine has given KKR some blazing starts while Lynn has been a bit subdued this season but has found a way to score runs. Robin Uthappa has looked in good touch but hasn’t been able to convert his starts.

Dinesh Karthik and Shubman Gill were the players who put KKR’s innings back on track in the last game after the early stumble. In fact, Karthik has been magnificent this season as he’s not only led the side well but also has been brilliant as a finisher. Andre Russell has been KKR’s trump card and he can use all his power to give KKR the flourishing finish.

The ‘Men in Purple’ have enough firepower in their ranks to get a score of at least 165 as was evident in the last game where despite being 51/4 on a sticky kind of a surface, they were able to put up 169.

If SRH bat first

Predicted Score: 150+

Batting has been a concern for SRH. They’ve been reliant on their top-order to do the bulk of the scoring. In fact, Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson have staked up more than 1100 runs combined. Shikhar Dhawan who was out for a golden duck in the last game has been in decent form and can cause some damage if he gets his eye in.

Kane Williamson has often held the innings together and also has scored at a decent rate. Hence, he can not only anchor the innings but he can also up the ante when required and in a crunch game, he will want to lead from the front.

The middle-order hasn’t fired but Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan and Yusuf Pathan have all played in pressure games and can deliver in a crunch situation. Carlos Braithwaite’s addition has helped SRH get some decent firepower towards the back end and he showed in the last game how destructive he can be.

Williamson and co will be hoping they get off to a good start if they bat first. But they have enough batting to put up at least about 150.

Match prediction

Both teams have defeated each other once in the group stages and will be itching to stand up and deliver on the big stage. KKR do hold the edge over SRH’s batting but SRH have been the best bowling side of the tournament. Hence, it promises to be a mouth-watering clash as both teams led by calm captains go head to head in the second Qualifier.

Playing at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata, KKR will have the home support. The Dinesh Karthik-led side also have momentum on their side and have a slight edge over the ‘Men in Orange’ and should they win this key clash they will go onto face CSK in their third IPL final.

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