IPL 2017 Eliminator 1: Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders

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Having finished third and fourth, respectively, after the group stage, defending champions Hyderabad and twin title holders Kolkata must battle a complex qualifying system in order to face first-placed Mumbai or second-placed Pune in Sunday's final.

The loser of Wednesday's Eliminator will crash out of the tournament, while the winner will need to beat Tuesday's Qualifier 1 victor to gain a berth in the finale in Hyderabad.

SH v KKR | Wednesday, 17 May 2017 | M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore | 16:30

To Win Match
Sunrisers 92/100| Tie 35/1 | Knight Riders 92/100

Sunrisers Hyderabad
The same teams contested the Eliminator in 2016, when batsman Yuvraj Singh's quickfire cameo paved the way for seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar's three key wickets to secure victory for the Sunrisers in Delhi. This season's leading wicket-taker, Kumar will again be key at the neutral venue.

Hyderabad also sport the services of the 2017 competition's leading run-scorer in captain David Warner. The hard-hitting Australian struck a masterful century against Kolkata less than three weeks ago - and was joint top-scorer against the same opposition even earlier in the tournament.

While the Sunrisers' 2017 campaign got off to a veritable flyer, it was later punctuated with defeats, forcing a tough progression to the final four. While Mumbai and Pune had it somewhat easier, Hyderabad really had to haul out all the stops - and look somewhat worse for ware for it. Kolkata, therefore, would do well to capitalise on this drop in momentum.

Hyderabad's previous visit to Bangalore brought a complete washout in late April. Prior to that, more than a year ago, they were entirely outdone by the Royal Challengers. Kumar performed well, regardless, but there was a severe lack of support from his fellow seamers - and the spinners. That definitive wrong, in relatively foreign conditions, demands correction this time.

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Kolkata Knight Riders
Few opposition attacks have managed to successfully combat Warner's various onslaughts, but the Knight Riders have shown semblances of doing so. One surmises the early introduction of left-arm wrist spinner Kuldeep Yadav, particularly if the new-ball bowlers have travelled for big runs, will be vital in captain Gautam Gambhir's thinking.

Away from the sanctity and safety of Eden Gardens, Gambhir and company need to find a way to keep their pursuit of a third title on course. They would have all but banked on finishing second and, therefore, achieving a more direct approach to the final, but their trajectory was unhinged by Pune. This must be put to the back of the collective mind - and focus maintained for Wednesday's clash.

Australian Chris Lynn's return to the ranks was timed perfectly. While the Knight Riders missed him due to injury for the bulk of their group stage campaign, his comeback at the business end has fired near perfectly. Again, his elevation to top order will afford Gambir and sidekick Robin Uthappa the opportunity to beef up the middle order.

If not England's Chris Woakes and Australia's Nathan Coulter-Nile, then New Zealanders Colin de Grandhomme and Trent Boult will have their hands full against Warner and cohorts. The M Chinnaswamy Stadium oval has the smallest dimensions of all the IPL grounds - and, understandably, yielded the most sixes.

Verdict: Sunrisers Hyderabad 92/100
Steadily regaining the momentum required to go all the way, Hyderabad will likely clinch the win that'll tee them up for a second consecutive title on Sunday.

Written by Jonhenry Wilson for @Hollywoodbets.net

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