Far removed from the fire and brimstone raining on season six of the IPL, the defending champion Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) is but a pale shadow of its past prowess. The Knights don’t appear a fraction as daunting as they did last year, bereft of armour and exposed to the point of the lance in the form of losses once too often.

Ejected from the reckoning for the playoffs, the only potential it now possesses is to throw the spanner in the works of Sun Risers Hyderabad (SRH) when they meet at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Sunday, in the league phase’s last fixture.

That may not entirely derail the southern side’s campaign though with Royal Challengers Bangalore on Saturday faced with risk factors of its own — in the race to join the select set.

Blessed with many a match-winner, be it Gautam Gambhir, Jacques Kallis or Sunil Narine, the eastern side faltered from a formidable to a feeble force. In its last hurrah, KKR may nonetheless just decide to go down fighting.

The Sun Risers rose to quell the challenge from Rajasthan Royals on Friday. Suffused with strength from that showing and provided complacence doesn’t creep in, the host should ward off any threat the visitor may pose.

A rousing performance from its batsmen is quite overdue, if not for anything else, to complement the back-breaking endeavours of the bowlers. A string of good scores should shore up the Sunrisers’ cause like nothing else would.

Last but not least in pointing to the possibility of a home side victory will be the loyal following of its fans, coming in droves to heartily cheer their side, not quite used to winning ways until recently.

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