IPL Preview: KKR face SRH in battle for supremacy
Buoyant Kolkata Knight Riders will look to continue their winning momentum when they face defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League here on Saturday.
It will be a battle between two top bowling sides of the IPL and Kolkata will hope to avenge their defeat in the Eliminator round last season.
After a win and a loss, the two-time former champions began their campaign at home with an eight-wicket thrashing of Kings XI Punjab with 21 balls to spare on Thursday night.
Their 11th successive run-chase at Eden Gardens, which began in the triumphant 2012 season, was made possible by another Gautam Gambhir masterstroke in letting Sunil Narine open the innings as the duo killed their chase with their best ever Powerplay display of 76 runs. The KKR 'mystery' spinner showed his skill with the bat, slamming three sixes and four boundaries en route to a 18-ball 37 after regular opener Chris Lynn unfortunately aggravated his old shoulder injury.
The victory was no lesser than KKR's 10-wicket win in the opening match against Gujarat Lions where Lynn and Gambhir shared a T20 record opening stand of 184. KKR's spirited run was halted by Mumbai Indians in their second match but last night's victory with Narine shining with the bat will boost the team which is struggling to find Lynn's immediate replacement.
In the transformed Eden Gardens track, India star pacer Umesh Yadav claimed four wickets in his comeback match after an injury layoff and it will further boost their morale.
Yadav, who finished the season as India's third highest wicket-taker behind R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja, got into the act especially at the death after conceding 11 runs in his opening over.
At a time when KXIP were sighting a score of 200, Yadav dismissed David Miller and Wriddhiman Saha of successive balls and took his fourth wicket in Axar Patel in the last delivery that restricted them to 170/9.