Neither Kolkata Knight Riders nor Sunrisers Hyderabad, who square up at the Maharashtra Cricket Association stadium here on Saturday, can afford another loss in the Indian Premier League.
And given their position in the points table, a win won’t be enough to take either team to the playoffs.
The last game at the picturesque venue on the outskirts of the city that was once referred to as pensioner’s paradise will also be the Knight Riders’ penultimate game of the season.
Shreyas Iyer’s boys know that to prolong Brendon McCullum’s stint as head coach by a week before he takes over as the coach of the England Test team , they have to win both their remaining games and then hope for other results to go their way.
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Just when the Knight Riders appeared to finally get the balance of their XI right, they will need to find a suitable replacement for Pat Cummins, who has returned home following a hip injury.
All eyes on Williamson, Tripathi
Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the other hand, is in a slightly better position, at least on paper. With three games in hand, they will not be out of contention even with a loss. But the four-match losing streak that the team is on is annihilating the gains made after an unbeaten five-match run earlier in the tournament.
As a result, Kane Williamson & Co. will be desperate to return to winning ways. The onus will be on the captain to find form with the willow. Besides, the team will also be looking forward to Rahul Tripathi to repeat his last month’s exploits against his former IPL outfit.
If Tripathi sizzles at his home ground, he can keep his team in the hunt and sound a death-knell to KKR’s campaign.