What a performance from RCB in Qualifier 1! Now that you know how the IPL Playoffs work and that RCB is already in the IPL Finals, it’s going to be a scrap to the bitter end for the other three teams. The first knock-out game of the Playoffs, the ominously named “Eliminator” will be played on Wednesday between the Sunrisers Hyderabad and the Kolkata Knightriders, who placed 3rd and 4th in the league stage respectively. It’s SRH v KKR – time to do or die!
The Teams: After being on top of the league table for the longest time, SRH now face possible elimination against the team that denied them the top spot in the league last Sunday. Warner has been spectacular throughout the tournament and Dhawan has also stepped up in the latter stages but SRH will want Kane Williamson and Yuvi to come good in the unfamiliar environs of the playoffs. Nehra ji is out with injury so Warner will have to rely on the other SRH seamers (Bhuvi, Sran and Mustafizur) to blast their way through KKR’s line-up. KKR, on the other hand, are not new to the playoff stages of the IPL and have even won the whole show twice before. Yusuf Pathan has been their stand-out performer this season and their chances could be greatly boosted with the return from injury of their main man, Andre Russell. Gautam Gambhir will be itching to have another crack at Virat Kohli’s RCB. Things could get spicy!
The Venue: The Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in Delhi. This ground historically favours the chasing team. The last game played here was 20 days ago when DD took on RPS and both teams scored in excess of 160. The pitch favours spin – KKR’s spinners will already be flexing their fingers in anticipation!
Our picks for your fantasy team
Sunil Narine – KKR’s premier spinner has had a quiet tournament so far. He has bowled decently but the batsman seem to playing him with great caution. Although he has already lost out on the race for the Purple Cap, we saw him showcase his skills in the last game against SRH. With the Kotla wicket assisting spin, Narine and his remodelled action could prove to be the difference between the two teams.
David Warner – With 658 runs from 14 games at an average of 54.83 and a strike rate of above 150, Warner has been brilliant for SRH. A clean striker of the cricket ball and a live wire in the field, Warner is a real game-changer. His battle against KKR’s spinning forces will, in all likelihood, determine the outcome of this Eliminator.
Kuldeep Yadav – Kuldeep Yadav is our wilcard pick for the Eliminator. This left arm spinner was picked over the consistent Piyush Chawla in the last game against SRH and, with KKR’s season on the line, produced a match-turning spell of 2-28. He flummoxed the batsman with big turn and exerted pressure which helped Narine pick up wickets at the other end. Fun fact: he started life as a medium pacer before his coach asked him to bowl spin since he felt that Yadav was too short to bowl quick!
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(Original cover artwork by Ishita Mohanty. She tweets here.)