Ricky Ponting backs defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad to overcome Kolkata Knight Riders in Eliminator

Ricky Ponting backs defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad to overcome Kolkata Knight Riders in Eliminator

"I’m a big believer in tournament play and trying to find a way to create that bit of momentum going into the finals," Punter said.

Rohit Sharma Mumbai Indians IPL 9
Ricky Ponting. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting backed defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad to defeat the Kolkata Knight Riders in the Eliminator on Wednesday. The two teams will clash at the Chinnaswamy, with the winner advancing to the second Qualifier. The Mumbai Indians await the winner of the game between SRH and KKR.

Amongst the two teams, the Sunrisers Hyderabad are the ones who currently have momentum on their side. SRH have won 4 out of their last 6 games, while the Knight Riders have managed to win just 1 out of their last 5 leading into the playoffs.

SRH playing their best cricket

Ponting felt the Kolkata Knight Riders will have a tough time overcoming the Sunrisers, as David Warner’s boys are “playing their best cricket now”. He felt the Sunrisers Hyderabad are the more balanced side amongst the two. Ponting also opined that Chris Lynn’s return from injury has caused some disruption in the Kolkata Knight Riders batting line-up.

“Interestingly enough, getting Chris Lynn back into their side has probably disrupted things more than anything else. They’ve had to completely reshuffle their batting order – Lynn and (Sunil) Narine have opened, and (Gautam) Gambhir and (Robin) Uthappa have batted three and four. Gambhir and Uthappa have been a really consistent opening combination for a really long time,” Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au.

“It’s obvious KKR are putting more emphasis on their Power Play overs, you probably can’t argue with what they’ve done because Narine has been very dynamic on a couple of occasions and ‘Lynny’ has been at his power-hitting best a few times as well. It will be interesting to see if they revert back to a more conventional way in the semifinals,” he added.

Ricky Ponting reckoned it will be an uphill battle for the Kolkata Knight Riders to defeat a sturdy SRH side. A lot will be riding on KKR’s top order, Ponting felt.

“I’m a big believer in tournament play and trying to find a way to create that bit of momentum going into the finals. All the big World Cups and Champions Trophies I played in, that was always a focus of ours in the Australian cricket team,” he said.

Upon being asked whether SRH are peaking at the right time, Ponting said, “Not necessarily being at your absolute peak for the start of the tournament because trying to maintain that for eight of nine weeks of an IPL is near-on impossible. I like the trajectory they’re (Sunrisers Hyderabad) on.”

The Sunrisers currently hold the Orange Cap as well as the Purple Cap. David Warner is still head and shoulders above the rest of the lot with 604 runs, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar leads the wicket-takers with 25 scalps. Shikhar Dhawan has also looked in fine touch en route his 468 runs this season.

“Sunrisers have built and built, and they’re playing their best cricket now. I’d rather be in that camp rather than a team that had a lost a few going into the finals. Whether they planned that or not, but they’ve got a lot of experience in Warner, (Yuvraj) Singh, Shikhar Dhawan,” Ponting said.

“Even Rashid Khan has come in and done really well for them. They’ve got most bases covered. Moises (Henriques) has probably been that little bit of glue. They’re a really well balanced team,” the Australian concluded.