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Warner's stock rises again as IPL play-offs loom

19 May 2017

Just past the halfway stage of the league season, KKR held the top position in the table with seven wins from nine matches.

Chinnaswamy Stadium, 8 pm. But the playing conditions for playoffs allow for a five-over match to begin as late as 12.26 am - almost four-and-a-half hours past the scheduled match start - and for a Super Over to be played as far into the night as 1.20 am.

In the eliminator game, just after Hyderabad's innings, rain interrupted the game and halted the proceedings for more than three hours.

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In the Qualifier 1, Mumbai Indians didn't well with their batting and also they lost their all three games against RPS in this IPL 2017. Unlike previous year, where five totals of 200 or more were scored, the average first-innings score here this season was 148, something Sunrisers were targeting upon being put in to bat. We will not be thinking that we have beaten these guys twice in the tournament. The pitch for the Eliminator wasn't a belter either; it was full of cracks and dark spots, and proved, unsurprisingly, to be two-paced and grippy.

With the ball Kolkata may also have an edge, with Umesh Yadav and Trent Boult providing smart pace options, while Sunil Narine is one of the most threatening spinners in the competition. Gautam Gambhir demonstrated as much with his unbeaten 19-ball 32, which helped Knight Riders home with four balls to spare. On David Warner's captaincy, Moody said the Australian batsman is one of those who "relishes the challenge of captaincy and thrives as a batsman and a fielder".

Nathan Coulter-Nile (3/20) was the pick of the bowlers while Umesh Yadav (2/21) continued his good show as the two-time IPL champions made the most of the slow Chinnaswamy wicket to keep Warner and company in check. Despite having seven wickets in hand, Sunrisers could only manage 30 off their last five. KKR have two wristspinners in their squad: Piyush Chawla and Kuldeep Yadav, who can exploit this weakness.

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Given that the chasing team has ten wickets in both cases, getting 48 in six overs is an indisputably more straightforward ask than getting 129 in 20.

Knight Riders, however, have scored the fewest runs of all the teams in the end overs. They opened with Chris Lynn, as always, and Robin Uthappa, for the first time this season. They are packed with big-hitters with an unexpected opening success in Sunil Narine giving them plenty of depth in the skipper, wicket-keeper batsman Robin Uthappa, the devastating Chris Lynn, the consistent Manish Pandey and the risky Colin de Grandhomme. The plan was that I have to stay at the crease as long as possible.

When Uthappa picked out deep midwicket at the start of the next over, Knight Riders were 12 for 3. With low-scoring games on hard pitches, whenever the overs are reduced, the team batting second will always have an edge because they stand a far lower chance of being bowled out, so they can stay a lot more relaxed.

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Warner's stock rises again as IPL play-offs loom