Bengaluru, May 16: Two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders will be facing defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad in the first eliminator match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2017 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium on Wednesday (May 17).
KKR will have a tough task of taming SRH, who are in sublime form and defeated the former in their den at Eden Gardens when both these teams met last time.
The Gautam Gambhir-led team, which lost four out of seven matches in the latter half of the season, will have to play out of their skins to make it to the second qualifier.
In the last game against Mumbai Indians, their batting looked to have run out of patience and were guilty of poor shot selection more often than not.
KKR were the team to beat early on in the season but they seemed to have peaked too early.
KKR's Chris Lynn and Sunil Narine will have their task cut out at the top of the order with the likes of India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar on song having 25 scalps this season in 13 games.
Besides Lynn and Narine, KKR have Manish Pandey and Robin Uthappa, who have scored 396 and 386 runs respectively.
Gambhir too was in form in the first half of the season but seemed a off-colour in the business end and the skipper, who is placed in the third spot in the most runs list with 454 runs, will hope to led from the front.
As far as KKR's bowling is concerned, Umesh Yadav and Kuldeep Yadav have been on song, but will have to stop red-hot David Warner.
Here is the likely Playing XI for KKR against SRH:
1. Sunil Narine
The mystery spinner from West Indies Sunil Narine has been a revelation with the bat in this season. He will be playing the role of an opening pinch hitter for the side and lead the spin department for KKR.
2. Chris Lynn
The explosive batsman from Australia will open the innings for KKR against SRH and team would hope him to just explode.
3. Gautam Gambhir (C)
Gambhir was in form in the first half of the season but his form has taken a backseat in the business end. Fans would hope the KKR skipper, who is placed in the third spot in the most runs list with 454 runs, will led from the front.
4. Robin Uthappa (WK)
The aggressive right-handed batsman will be present in the middle order to strengthen team's batting. If he explodes any target is achievable for the KKR.
5. Manish Pandey
The young Karnataka batsman has been in sublime form for the KKR and team would depend on his batting in the middle order.
6. Yusuf Pathan
The veteran cricketer may not be in his prime form in this tournament but skipper Gambhir would be hoping Pathan explodes against SRH in Bengaluru.
7. Colin de Grandhomme
The New Zealand all-rounder will be strengthening KKR batting in the lower order and would be keen to trouble SRH batsman with the ball in the knock out game.
8. Kuldeep Yadav
The young chinaman bowler will once again get a chance to play against SRH in the eliminator.
9. Umesh Yadav
The India pacer will once again lead the pace battery for KKR against SRH in the eliminator.
10. Trent Boult
KKR would take the services of the New Zealand speedster in the must win game against SRH.
11. Ankit Rajpoot
The young pacer will get a chance to play in the crucial tie against SRH at M Chinnaswamy Stadium.
Kolkata Squad: Gautam Gambhir (captain), Darren Bravo, Trent Boult, Piyush Chawla, Nathan Coulter Nile, Colin De Grandhomme, Rishi Dhawan, Sayan Ghosh, Sheldon Jackson, Ishank Jaggi, Kuldeep Yadav, Chris Woakes, Chris Lynn, Sunil Narine, Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan, Ankit Rajpoot, Suryakumar Yadav, Robin Uthappa (wicketkeeper) and Umesh Yadav.