High-flying Sunrisers keen to ensure play-off berth

Hyderabad, May 18 (IANS) On a high after a comprehensive win against Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers Hyderabad will looking to ensure their place in the Indian Premier League (IPL) play-offs when they take on Kolkatta Knight Riders here Sunday.

With 23-run win against Royals Friday night, the home side had an off-day Saturday to rest and recover for the crucial tie. With 18 points, Sunrisers have climbed to third place in the points table.

The team will keenly watch the outcome of Royal Challengers Bangalore’s match against Chennai Super Kings on Saturday night.

RCB, who have 16 points, may regain third place with a win and this will create a must-win situation for Sunrisers in their last league match to qualify for semifinals. However, if RCB loses, Sunrisers will enter the play-offs irrespective of the result of their clash with KKR.

Sunrisers, the new Hyderabad franchise who had an impressive debut in the IPL, will be looking to go for a kill in either case. After winning six out of seven matches at home ground, the home side will be keen to wind up league stage on a winning note and enter the play-offs with confidence.

Sunrisers will look to continue the good show and improve batting, which in the words of their chief coach Tom Moody, remained under pressure.

Moody, however, is pleased that every time a new batsman stood up to help the team recover from that pressure. It was Biplab Samantray who rose to the occasion with his 55 against Royals to help the team reach a competitive total.

Sunrisers’ bowling had been terrific throughout the season, barring two matches against CSK and Mumbai Indians when couple of their bowlers were punished by the rival batsmen. Dale steyn had been exceptional so also Amit Mishra. Ishant Sharma, Karan Sharma, Thisara Perera and Darrey Sammy also came out with match winning performances.

Sunrisers’ play well in the home conditions with the slow track suiting their bowlers. They have comfortably defended 130, the average score on the Hyderabad track.

Moody said his team was fully aware that KKR is a good team. “They are reigning champions. They have a point to prove. Finish the season with a win.”

“We have to prepare well. We have to execute all three disciplined very well to make sure that we finish with a win,” said the Australian, who played a key role in team’s impressive performance. Sunrisers will also look to avenge their defeat in their last match. KKR had defeated them by 48 runs at Kolkata.

With just 12 points from 15 games, KKR is at seventh position on the points table. The 2012 champions had a disappointing show this season.

Gautam Gambhir will be keen to sign off with a win. The team will be playing for prestige and may go all out for a consolation win.

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