Pune: Struggling after four straight losses, Sunrisers Hyderabad will need to sort their bowling woes when they take on an inconsistent Kolkata Knight Riders as both the teams look to stay afloat in the IPL play-off race here on Saturday.
A series of losses after a five-match winning streak has dropped SRH to the sixth spot with 10 points and they would need to win all the remaining three games to salvage any hopes of making it to the play-offs.
With 10 points, KKR, however, are on the brink of elimination.
Shreyas Iyer's men have just two more matches to go and wins in both will only take them to 14 points, which might not be enough with Rajasthan Royals and Royal Challengers Bangalore already sitting pretty in the top four with 14 points from 12 games.
One of the main reasons behind SRH's awful run in the last few games is injuries to frontline bowlers -- Washington Sundar and T Natarajan -- and the sudden loss of form of speedster Umran Malik.
It culminated in SRH conceding more than 190 plus runs in each of the last four games.
While Sundar had injured his bowling hand again, death over specialist Natarajan had picked up a niggle. But coach Tom Moody was hopeful of the duo's return against KKR.
Malik, who looked fast and furious in the earlier games clocking 150kmph consistently, has gone wicketless and conceded too many runs in the last few games and his form will be key for SRH.
Fazalhaq Farooqi and Karthik Tyagi were taken to cleaners by RCB in their last game, further adding to SRH's problems.
In batting, SRH have the quality but skipper Kane Williamson will have to take more responsibility as he has just one fifty to show this season. Although Abhishek Sharma has given them solid starts, the youngster has not been able to anchor the innings.
Rahul Tripathi, Nicholas Pooran and Aiden Markram too have been among runs but SRH batters will need assistance from their bowlers, who will have to ensure that they limit their opposition to reasonable totals.
KKR, on the other hand, are paying the price for making constant changes to their playing XI and are now staring at elimination after losing seven of their 12 games.
KKR, however, are coming into the match after beating Mumbai Indians in their last game and they would look to end things on a high.
The 2021 finalist have struggled in the powerplay this season but with Venkatesh Iyer, who was dropped due to his lean run, back in the mix, KKR produced a good effort against MI.
The seasoned Tim Southee and Pat Cummins too were back in the XI and produced a solid effort, sharing four wickets against MI.
But according to reports, Cummins will miss KKR's remaining matches as he is heading home early to recover from a minor hip injury.
KKR's highest wicket-taker Umesh Yadav had missed the last game after pulling his calf muscle and the team would be hoping he recovers for the match.
With their IPL campaign nearing its end, KKR will hope to make the most of the remaining two games as they look forward to the next season.
Kolkata Knight Riders: Aaron Finch, Abhijeet Tomar, Ajinkya Rahane, Baba Indrajith, Nitish Rana, Pratham Singh, Rinku Singh, Shreyas Iyer (C), Ashok Sharma, Pat Cummins, Rasikh Dar, Shivam Mavi, Tim Southee, Umesh Yadav, Varun Chakaravarthy, Aman Khan, Andre Russell, Anukul Roy, Chamika Karunaratne, Mohammed Nabi, Ramesh Kumar, Sunil Narine, Venkatesh Iyer, Sam Billings, Sheldon Jackson.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (C), Abhishek Sharma, Rahul Tripathi, Aiden Markram, Nicholas Pooran, Abdul Samad, Priyam Garg, Vishnu Vinod, Glenn Phillips, R Samarth, Shashank Singh, Romario Shepherd, Marco Jansen, J Suchith, Shreyas Gopal, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sean Abbott, Kartik Tyagi, Saurabh Tiwary, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Umran Malik, T Natarajan.—PTI