Hyderabad Sunrisers v Kolkata Knight Riders: Home advantage will tell for Karthik's men

Kolkata Knight Riders captain Dinesh Karthik
Dinesh Karthik and KKR should make the IPL final
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Previewing the penultimate match of this IPL, Paul Krishnamurty is sticking with his earlier tip and predicts Kolkata to utilise home advantage and advance to the final...

"Kuldeep Yadav seems particularly effective on his home ground. An outstanding 1-18 stalled Rajasthan's scoring rate at the key moment and in their previous match at Eden Gardens he managed 4-20."

Back Kuldeep Yadav to be Top KKR Wicket Taker 1.5u @ 10/3

Back Kuldeep Yadav to be Man of the Match 0.5u @ 16/1

Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kolkata Knight Riders
Friday, 14:30 BST

Live on Sky Sports Cricket

Just five days after meeting in the group stage finale, Sunrisers and KKR face off for a place in the final. KKR won chasing with a bit to spare on that occasion but, unlike then, both are equally wound up for an all or nothing scenario. Another significant difference is that Qualifier 2 is to be played at Kolkata's home ground.

Sunrisers have the bowling tools for Eden Gardens

The first team to qualify for the play-offs get another chance after a dramatic defeat in Qualifier 1. Though ultimately falling victim to Faf Du Plessis' heroics, another demonstration of bowling brilliance showed they are capable of defending even pitifully low totals.

One big positive for Sunrisers is that they won the group fixture at Eden Gardens, easily chasing down 139 after Bhuvneshwar Kumar and the since departed Billy Stanlake did the damage. Rashid Khan was outstanding again last time and should get plenty of assistance on this Eden Gardens pitch.

Kolkata matchwinners are peaking at the right time

When Kolkata last became IPL champions in 2014, they won their last nine matches. Wednesday's victory over Rajasthan takes the current run to four and they are the form team. We've already bagged six units profit from an earlier outright trade at odds of [11.5], with a further six to come if they win the title.

Right now, the side looks very well balanced and formidable. Their abiity to use Sunil Narine to tee off from the outset is priceless. As seen last time, when it doesn't come off and early wickets fall, they have match-winning back up in Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell. Their death bowling last time - conceding just 41 runs from the last seven overs - was a masterclass.

Bowlers to dominate again at Eden Gardens

There was plenty in the pitch for the bowlers on Wednesday following much rainfall, and that may prove a better guide than matches earlier in the season. 169 was the third lowest first innings total of eight matches at Eden Gardens but proved easily enough.

Par looked closer to 150 before Dinesh Karthik and Andre Russell caught fire and that band is expected to be a good value lay early on at around [1.25]. So too the 160 or more band at around [1.4]. If the odds aren't quite that short pre-match, the advice is to place lay orders to hopefully get matched in-running.

Kolkata spinners have an edge with home advantage

If the game is indeed to be dominated by bowlers, the key to victory will be one or two match-winning innings, breaking the stranglehold. Kolkata bat deeper, more explosively and their spin trio will be in their element if the last match here is a guide. They deserve to start [1.8] favourites, especially as the toss doesn't appear to be all-important.

Miserly Yadav could be the key bowler

Of that trio of spinners, Kuldeep Yadav seems particularly effective on his home ground. An outstanding 1-18 stalled Rajasthan's scoring rate at the key moment and in their previous match at Eden Gardens he managed 4-20. 10/3 for Top KKR Wicket Taker and 16/1 for Man of the Match appeal.

Williamson to lead from the front

Without question, the key Sunrisers batsman is Kane Williamson and he rightly heads their runs market at 5/2. After the way KKR bowled at the death last time, I would much rather be on a top-three batsmen and the skipper is slightly preferred to Shikhar Dhawan.

Russell is in explosive form

The KKR favourites are Chris Lynn at 13/5 followed by Sunil Narine at 7/2 but this is a much deeper batting line-up with extraordinary finishing ability. Andre Russell's match-changing 49 last time may well earn a promotion, which would make 17/2 top value.


Follow Paul on Twitter @paulmotty

Paul's IPL 2018 Profit/Loss:

+24 units (plus six if Kolkata win the title)

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