Both, the Kolkata Knight Riders and Sunrisers Hyderabad are in the race for the top-4, and the match between them on Sunday will be crucial to their chances of staying in the heated fight for the playoff qualification.
KKR's inconsistent performances have let them down, and the captaincy change in the middle of the season has further raised eyebrows among experts and fans, including former KKR captain and two-time IPL winner Gautam Gambhir.
Under Eoin Morgan's captaincy, KKR got off to a poor start against Mumbai Indians and would aim to make amends as they take on David Warner's SRH who have just been as inconsistent, if not more.
In the match against Mumbai, KKR shuffled their batting order again -- with Dinesh Karthik coming above captain Morgan and Andre Russell. While Morgan has a positive outlook towards constant changes in the order -- he believes it shows the side's adaptability to different situations -- it has also been one of the key reasons behind the side's inconsistencies.
If not for Morgan and Cummins' unbeaten stand against MI, KKR would've faced an embarrassing batting collapse against MI. The side would be aiming to have a stabilised batting order ahead of the match against SRH.
At the top, Shubman Gill has failed to capitalise on his starts, while Rahul Tripathi has not gone past the 20-run mark after his brilliant 81 against the Chennai Super Kings. Nitish Rana has been profligate and Karthik’s batting slot has been experimented with throughout the tournament.
Andre Russell and Morgan have also not been able to make the kind of impact expected from players of their calibre.
The KKR bowlers did well to fashion narrow victories against Kings XI Punjab and CSK, but leaked runs against RCB and MI. To add to their woes, star spinner Sunil Narine has been reported for suspect bowling action and he has missed two matches since then.
The Sunrisers, who occupy the fifth spot on the points table with just three wins from eight outings, are also struggling.
With the injuries ruling out pace spearhead Bhuvneshwar Kumar and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, the Orange Army is facing a conundrum of whether to strengthen their batting or their bowling unit, a fact that skipper David Warner conceded.
A cause of concern for the Sunrisers is Rashid Khan’s form. After returning impressive figures like 3/14, 0/12, 3/12, the Afghan leg- spinner remained ineffective in the team's last two losses. Rahul Tewatia, Ambati Rayudu and Shane Watson smashed him for sixes.
Skipper Warner will desperately hope that his star spinner finds his mojo back which is imperative for the team’s success.
The Teams (From):
Kolkata Knight Riders: Eoin Morgan (c), Dinesh Karthik , Nitish Rana, Rahul Tripathi, Rinku Singh, Shubman Gill, Siddhesh Lad, Ali Khan, Kamlesh Nagarkoti, Kuldeep Yadav, Lockie Ferguson, Pat Cummins, Prasidh Krishna, Sandeep Warrior, Shivam Mavi, Varun Chakravarthy, Andre Russell, Chris Green, M Siddharth, Sunil Narine, Nikhil Naik, Tom Banton.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow, Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Shreevats Goswami, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Abdul Samad, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, B Sandeep, Sanjay Yadav, Fabian Allen, Prithvi Raj Yarra, Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Siddharth Kaul, Billy Stanlake, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi.