IPL-17, Qualifier 1 | Top-heavy KKR-SRH collide for a place in the final

With little to choose between the sides, the difference might come down to the spin department; Gurbaz likely to replace Salt for the marquee fixture

Updated - May 20, 2024 10:40 pm IST

Published - May 20, 2024 10:47 am IST - Ahmedabad

The main entrance Pavilion entry of the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad shows all four Playoff Captain posters at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, on May 20, 2024

The main entrance Pavilion entry of the Narendra Modi Stadium, Ahmedabad shows all four Playoff Captain posters at Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, on May 20, 2024 | Photo Credit: Vijay Soneji

Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad kicked off their IPL campaign against each other in a high-scoring thriller in which the former prevailed by four runs. The match was a sneak peek into the game style the two outfits would employ this season, prioritising a no-holds-barred approach to batting.

Nearly two months after that game, KKR and SRH — who finished first and second in the group stages, respectively — will square off again in Qualifier-1 of the IPL Playoffs at the Narendra Modi Stadium on May 21.

Two-time champion KKR was the first to qualify for the Playoffs and seal the top-two berth, posting nine wins. The team’s inspired decision to let Sunil Narine open the innings has worked wonders, as the West Indian all-rounder has been at his marauding best. Narine and his opening partner Phil Salt — the top two run-getters for the side — have set the tone by giving blazing starts. It has allowed the middle and lower order the freedom not to hold back.

Even as the batters have hogged the limelight, the bowling attack has been equally effective. The spin duo of Narine (15 wickets, Eco: 6.63) and Varun Chakravarthy (18, 8.34) have led the way, giving crucial breakthroughs while being economical.

The only area of concern for Shreyas Iyer’s men will be Salt’s absence, who has returned to England for national duty. Afghanistan opener Rahmanullah Gurbaz is set to take his place in the line-up but hasn’t played a game this season. KKR’s last two games have been washed out, and it will be interesting to see if the long break—the team last played on May 11—will hurt its momentum.

Meanwhile, Sunrisers sealed a place in the top-two following its four-wicket win over Punjab Kings on Sunday. Like KKR, SRH has also piggybacked on its openers, Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma—who have scored 1000 runs between them—to reach the Playoffs. However, bowling remains a concern for the 2016 champion as it has the second-worst economy rate during the middle and death-overs.

The pitch in Ahmedabad has seen four totals above 200 four times in the last six matches, and Tuesday’s contest promises to be another high-scoring one in the battle between the two most destructive batting units.


Kolkata Knight Riders: Shreyas Iyer (c), KS Bharat (wk), Rahmanullah Gurbaz (wk), Rinku Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Sherfane Rutherford, Manish Pandey, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy, Ramandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Chetan Sakariya, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Mitchell Starc, Dushmantha Chameera, Sakib Hussain, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Allah Ghazanfar.

Sunrisers Hyderabad: Abhishek Sharma, Travis Head, Heinrich Klaasen (wk), Aiden Markram, Abdul Samad, Nitish Reddy, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pat Cummins (c), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, T Natarajan, Mayank Markande, Umran Malik, Anmolpreet Singh, Glenn Phillips (wk), Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Upendra Yadav (wk), Jhathavedh Subramanyan, Sanvir Singh, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Marco Jansen, Akash Maharaj Singh, Mayank Agarwal.

Match starts at 7:30 p.m. IST.

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