The Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) have to win three consecutive games if they are to lift the 2018 IPL Championship. Their first match was the Eliminator against the Rajasthan Royals and KKR crossed their first hurdle in flying colours to book themselves a place in Qualifier 2 against Sunrisers Hyderabad.
KKR Dismantle The Royals
KKR batted first in the Eliminator and got off to a poor start as the Royals took 4 wickets to take a commanding position. However captain D Karthik and West Indian all-rounder A Russell played well and took their side to a respectable 169. The total wasn’t threatening but in the end it was more than enough for KKR to defend and win comfortably.
The Royals struggled to find the boundary as the KKR spinners tied them up and put them under a lot of pressure. The Royals lost only 4 wickets but were unable to chase down the runs and were eliminated in the process. KKR will now have to win against the Sunrisers in order to book themselves a place in the final against the Chennai Super Kings.
Andre Russell – X Factor
Andre Russell has the X Factor and that turned out to be the difference against the Royals. Russell was awarded the man of the match award and will once again be the key player for KKR when they take on the Sunrisers on May 25 at the Eden Gardens.
In a statement, D Karthik said “In these kind of games the score doesn’t matter, it’s about believing. The par scores don’t matter, but just how much you believe. The bowlers have picked their game and have bowled some good balls. Royals do spring a surprise, so you need to hold your nerve and execute your plans. Every game is important this stage. Next game, two good teams competing.”
Sunrisers Bowling – Could Be The Difference
The biggest threat to KKR going into Qualifier 2 on Friday will be the Sunrisers bowling. They have showed throughout the tournament that they can not only restrict the opposition to a low score when batting first but also defend low totals.
KKR has a slight advantage going into Qualifier 2 due to Chris Lynn and Andre Russell. However, the Sunrisers have shown that they can rise to the occasion and pull of a surprise victory.