After comfortably qualifying for the playoffs a few days ago, KKR now set their sights on Qualifier 1 in Ahmedabad against SRH. An iconic run in the league stage meant KKR qualified into the playoffs with the best Net Run Rate (+1.428) in the history of IPL. KKR will now aim to replicate a similar performance against SRH in the Qualifier 1. Two strong teams who have established their dominance all throughout the season clash against each other to book their place into the final. KKR will be eager to get out on the field after back-to-back washouts in their last two league games.

HEAD-TO-HEAD 

KKR hold a firm lead of 17-9 over the SRH in the 26 games contested and were able to beat them in their thrilling league stage game in Kolkata. KKR’s record gets even better when we zoom into the results since 2021 where they have a dominant lead of 7-2 out of the 9 games played. Both teams have a winning momentum on their side and thus this game promises to be a closely fought contest, however, KKR will hold a slight edge over SRH. 

PITCH & GROUND CONDITIONS 

The Ahmedabad pitch is suited for explosive and aggressive game style which both teams have adopted quite magnificently this year. However, there may be a few surprises in the pitch considering the range of different pitches the stadium has to offer. With the rain going around, and the overall humid conditions, there might be a lot to read into the pitch in the Qualifier 1 game. 

PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR 

Rahmanullah Gurbaz

Rahmanullah Gurbaz is all set to replace Phil Salt at the top of the order and he will look to replicate what Salt did at the top with Narine. Gurbaz will look to be explosive right from the outset and play his natural style of taking the attack to the bowlers. The opening combination has laid the foundation for KKR all through the season and now the onus will be on Gurbaz to provide an aggressive start. 

Nitish Rana

Nitish Rana is the vital cog in the middle order of the KKR batting unit and his contribution will be of great value. In the past couple of years, Nitish has played several knocks under pressure  and always scored at a high tempo. On this big stage, KKR will need their ace middle order batter to churn out a top drawer innings to put KKR in the ascendency in this first qualifier against SRH 

Andre Russell

Andre Russell always has been KKR’s go-to man with the bat as well as with the ball. The big man has contributed immensely to the success of KKR this year with crucial knocks and brilliant spells. Dre-Russ started this season’s blitzkrieg against SRH right at the start of the tournament, where he smashed an important knock to take KKR to victory and it would be quite fitting for Russell to deliver yet again and take KKR into their 3rd final. 

KEY MATCH-UP

A heavyweight SRH batting unit take on the spin maestros of KKR

The Sunrisers have been relentless in their approach of playing positive and aggressive cricket throughout this season and they will be aiming to replicate a similar approach come this game. However, standing in their way would be KKR’s wily spin-duo of Sunil Narine and Varun Chakaravarthy who have spun their web around many batting units this season. SRH’s middle overs hitting will be put to test against a strong KKR spin bowling contingent. The Knight Riders can also bolster their attack with one of Anukul Roy or Suyash Sharma to add a variety into their attack, and thus this interesting battle of attacking batters vs wily spinners could well decide the result of the game.