Indian Premier League (IPL) champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) will look to extend their winning streak of 13 wins and seal a place in finals of Champions League T20 2014 when they square off against Hobart Hurricanes from down under. KKR continued their impressive run from IPL 7 and finished undefeated in the group A, while Hurricanes occupied second spot behind Kings XI Punjab in group B to make it to semis.
KKR have dominated the proceedings in almost every game and achieved some fine wins in close encounters. Thanks largely to their spin trio of Sunil Narine, Piyush Chawla and the latest entrant Kuldeep Sharma KKR’s bowling has been the dangerous one on display in the CLT20 2014. With all-rounders like Andre Russell, Jacques Kallis, Ryan Ten Doeschate and Yusuf Pathan rolling their arms, Gautam Gambhir has perhaps variety of options to look to in the semis and bowling should not be a cause of concern for KKR.
In batting department KKR have had a different heroes in all league matches. Andre Russell and Ten Doeschate starred in the opening match against Chennai Super Kings, captain Gambhir led from the front against Lahore Lions, Suryakumar Yadav played a match winning innings against Perth Scorchers and Robin Uthappa and Manish Pandey stunned Dolphins. All in all KKR have a pretty balanced side and the best thing for them is everyone is in form and has contributed to team’s success.
Hobart Hurricanes is the only non-IPL who made it to semis this season. They are playing as a confident unit and have potent match winners in their side. Aiden Blizzard has been their best bet with the bat and explosive in the middle order. Pakistani import Shoaib Malik is very important member of the team given his expertise in the subcontinent conditions. Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger have been smart operators and have featured in wickets column regularly. Captain Tim Paine has been a disappointment for Hurricanes and we might see him batting down the order for this fixture.
As KKR eye another victory to make it 14 wins in a row, Hurricanes would love to spoil their party and book themselves a place in finals.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Robin Uthappa(w), Gautam Gambhir(c), Jacques Kallis, Manish Pandey, Ryan ten Doeschate, Yusuf Pathan, Suryakumar Yadav, Andre Russell, Piyush Chawla, Sunil Narine, Kuldeep Yadav, Vinay Kumar, Umesh Yadav, Pat Cummins, Manvinder Bisla
Hobart Hurricanes: Ben Dunk, Tim Paine(c & w), Aiden Blizzard, Shoaib Malik, Travis Birt, Jonathan Wells, Ben Hilfenhaus, Xavier Doherty, Ben Laughlin, Doug Bollinger, Evan Gulbis, Dominic Michael, Sam Rainbird, Cameron Boyce, Joe Mennie