IPL 2024 Qualifier 1: Fierce battle on the cards between Kolkata and Hyderabad

The winner of this contest on Tuesday will qualify for the final. The loser, though, will get another chance to reach the final

By AFP

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Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Pat Cummins and Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Sunil Narine. — AFP
Sunrisers Hyderabad captain Pat Cummins and Kolkata Knight Riders all-rounder Sunil Narine. — AFP

Published: Mon 20 May 2024, 2:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 20 May 2024, 2:10 PM

The two highest-priced players in the IPL -- Australia teammates Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc -- will go head-to-head on Tuesday for a place in the final as the cash-rich Twenty20 league enters the playoffs.

Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper Cummins cost $2.5 million at auction, a record which stood briefly until Kolkata Knight Riders then paid $2.98 million for fast bowler Starc.


Former champions Hyderabad finished second after a four-wicket win over Punjab Kings on Sunday with Kolkata topping the table -- setting up the clash at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad where the winners will reach Sunday's final.

The losers will get a second chance on Friday against either the third-placed Rajasthan Royals or Royal Challengers Bengaluru, who finished fourth. They play in an eliminator on Wednesday.


The final will be followed just six days later by the T20 World Cup in the West Indies and the United States. Cummins last year led Australia to the 50-over World Cup when they beat India in the final, also at Ahmedabad.

"We've had a lot of fun and played some really great cricket," Cummins said of his side that twice broke the IPL scoring record this season, with innings of 277 and 287.

"It's satisfying and exciting" to be in the play-offs, he said. "A few of these guys haven't played in (IPL) finals before -- I haven't played in finals before."

Kolkata have been the team to beat with 20 points from 14 matches and were the first of the 10 IPL teams to clinch a playoff place.

They hit 272-7 against Delhi Capitals this season, the third highest innings in IPL history behind Hyderabad's two huge totals.

Starc had a quiet start, but began to justify his price tag with match-winning figures of 3-38 against Lucknow Super Giants last month.

He then took 4-33 against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium earlier this month, getting into the groove ahead of the World Cup.

He has taken 12 wickets in 12 matches but has been expensive, with an economy rate of more than 11 per over on the batting-friendly pitches that have dominated the 2024 season.

Cummins has 15 wickets in 13 games but it is his captaincy that has stood out with his rotation of bowlers key in Hyderabad winning eight out of 14 matches.

His lower-order batting -- Cummins scored an IPL fifty in 14 balls in 2022 for Kolkata -- has also come in handy with a highest of 35 not out.

Cummins has fellow Australian Travis Head for company in Hyderabad.

The attacking opener has scored 533 runs, with a century and four fifties, to stand third in the batting chart led by Bengaluru's Virat Kohli on 708.

Sunrisers also have explosive batters like Abhishek Sharma and Heinrich Klaasen with both playing some spellbinding knocks in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Kolkata have a big task of filling in the void at the top after the prolific opener Phil Salt left IPL to join England's T20 World Cup squad.

The England wicketkeeper-batter formed a fantastic opening partnership with Sunil Narine in the league matches. His absence will surely be a big blow to Kolkata's hopes.

But Narine could hold the key to Kolkata's fortunes with his fearless batting and crafty off-spin.

The West Indian has been the stand-out all-rounder in the tournament with 461 runs (strike rate 182.93) and 15 wickets in 13 matches.

The decision to use him as an opening batter was a masterstroke from Kolkata whose fans would be hoping for some more moments of magic from the 35-year-old Trinidadian in the business end of the tournament.

Qualifier 1

Tuesday

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Sunrisers Hyderabad

Ahmedabad

6 pm UAE Time

Teams

Kolkata Knight Riders (from): Shreyas Iyer , KS Bharat , Rahmanullah Gurbaz , Rinku Singh, Angkrish Raghuvanshi, Sherfane Rutherford, Manish Pandey, Andre Russell, Nitish Rana, Venkatesh Iyer, Anukul Roy, Ramandeep Singh, Varun Chakravarthy, Sunil Narine, Vaibhav Arora, Chetan Sakariya, Harshit Rana, Suyash Sharma, Mitchell Starc, Dushmantha Chameera, Sakib Hussain, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Allah Ghazanfar.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (from): Abhishek Sharma, Travis Head, Heinrich Klaasen , Aiden Markram, Abdul Samad, Nitish Reddy, Shahbaz Ahmed, Pat Cummins , Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jaydev Unadkat, T Natarajan, Mayank Markande, Umran Malik, Anmolpreet Singh, Glenn Phillips , Rahul Tripathi, Washington Sundar, Upendra Yadav , Jhathavedh Subramanyan, Sanvir Singh, Vijayakanth Viyaskanth, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Marco Jansen, Akash Maharaj Singh, Mayank Agarwal.

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