Hyderabad have now lost four matches in a row with their famed bowling attack coming under immense pressure, going into the contest in Kolkata. © BCCI

Hyderabad have now lost four matches in a row with their famed bowling attack coming under immense pressure, going into the contest in Kolkata. © BCCI

Match Date: May 25

Venue: Eden Gardens, Kolkata

The rate at which their bowlers were defending small totals through the season, it would have been impossible to think then that Sunrisers Hyderabad would lose four matches in a stretch. A fifth loss and they will be out of the tournament. They have all to play for against Kolkata Knight Riders at the Eden Gardens in the second Qualifier.

Kane Williamson, the Hyderabad captain, called the three-wicket loss against Chennai Super Kings in the first Qualifier as “frustrating”. Definitely, dew became a major factor towards the death overs and allowed Chennai to plot their way back for 92 for 7 to complete a chase of 140 with five balls to spare. But to give Carlos Brathwaite the 18th over, which turned around the game, when Sandeep Sharma was still available is a tactical error. Williamson backed Brathwaite in the post-match press conference, but it was an avoidable blip. Not that Sandeep would have guaranteed a win, but he has been the more consistent of the two.

Hyderabad’s bigger problem through the season has been their batting. Shreevats Goswami at the top of the order is an exciting option, allowing the team management to play an extra allrounder in Brathwaite, but he has to deliver as do everyone else for Williamson’s supreme form to count for something worthwhile. The Kolkata pitch is much batting friendlier than the one in Hyderabad, and the teams need to post at least 170 on the board to make a match.

Manish Pandey, a former Kolkata batsman, knows the conditions well, and will be expected to hold the batting together from No. 4. Pandey’s pedigree is unquestionable, but this has not been the best of seasons for him. There cannot be a better occasion than this to come good and eliminate the franchise that did not trust him enough to buy him back in the auctions.

Kolkata’s show has been excellently run by Dinesh Karthik, who after being in the shadow of others for so many years is finally proving himself to be not only a top order batsman worth his salt but also as one of the country’s best leaders. The way he has marshaled his young resources is a lesson in itself.

The bowling is starting to look good, but they would want a bit more from the bats of Chris Lynn and Robin Uthappa before Andre Russell can go about increasing his tally of sixes. That they beat Rajasthan Royals in the Eliminator was because of the way Karthik, Shubman Gill and Russell rescued the innings from 51 for 4. They would not like to be in a similar position again.

Head-to-head record

Played: 14, Kolkata 9, Hyderabad 5

Head-to-head in Kolkata

Played: 6, Kolkata 5, Hyderabad 1