About the Match
Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab’s Indian Premier League campaigns have followed the exact same pattern till now. Both won their respective first two matches and then went on to lose the next two, which leaves both with two wins out of four and a middling position in the IPL points table. These two teams will now take on each other in the 19th match of the league at Hyderabad on 17th April and a win here will be equally important for both sides in order to get their campaign back on track.
Hyderabad typically has been a batting-friendly surface. Although the average first innings total hovers around 150, we have seen totals of around 200 being scored regularly. Dew doesn't play a major role here, so the team could bat first here. However, it is a night game and defending hasn't been easy this year. Winning the toss and chasing will be the first thing in any captain's mind here.
Sunrisers started their campaign in stunning fashion with wins at home against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Gujarat Lions. The top order clicked, middle order responded admirably when required and the bowling performed well as a unit. David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Moises Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, Rashid Khan, Ashish Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar were the main architects of these wins.
But after the first two matches, as they moved away from home, things changed dramatically. First Henriques missed the third game against Mumbai Indians due to illness, and this affected the batting as the middle order crumbled after Warner and Dhawan were able to give the team a fairly good start. This resulted in a below-par final score and as a result, the bowlers could not defend it despite an inspired spell by Bhuvneshwar Kumar. Returning Mustafizur, the hero of last season’s title win, could not impress here.
In the next game against Kolkata, Bhuvneshwar again impressed along with the miserly Rashid Khan but still, the Knight Riders were able to amass 172 runs. Henriques returned for this game but could not make an impact as the batting unit failed as a whole for the first time resulting in another loss for Sunrisers.
Sunrisers have played with a fairly settled unit till now and returning to the comforts of their home ground should offer them the best chance to get their campaign back on track.
Likely Starting XI:
David Warner (c) - Shikhar Dhawan - Moises Henriques - Yuvraj Singh - Ben Cutting - Deepak Hooda - Naman Ojha (wk) - Rashid Khan - Bipul Sharma - Bhuvaneshwar Kumar - Ashish Nehra.
Kings XI Punjab
The similarities in the campaigns of Sunrisers and Kings XI till now are simply astonishing. Just like Sunrisers, Punjab also won their first two matches at their second home, Indore, but lost the next two at away venues. But unlike Sunrisers, Punjab will not have the comfort of playing at home in this game either.
Punjab started their campaign with an emphatic win over Pune, chasing down 164 runs with ease on the back of some great batting by Captain Glen Maxwell with others chipping in as well. The bowling also performed well as a unit to keep Pune down to such a total. Then Punjab continued their run in the next match with an absolute thrashing of Royal Challengers Bangalore. Bowlers restricted Bangalore to 148 and then Amla and Maxwell made short work of the chase.
But as they moved away from home, they lost the next two matches to Kolkata and Delhi. Against Kolkata, none of the batsmen were able to convert and go on to get a substantial score. This resulted in a below par total and the bowlers were not able to defend it against a serene Gambhir. Punjab tried to address this weakness in batting by including Eoin Morgan against Delhi, but the bowlers gave away plenty and then Kings XI could not chase it down. Morgan could make little impact against a disciplined Delhi attack.
This match will now be Punjab’s third in a row away from home and is little reason for them to feel optimistic. However, Punjab is a quality team and have the resources to bounce back. It’s just that they will need to regroup quickly in order to arrest this slide.
Likely Starting XI:
Hashim Amla - Manan Vohra - Eoin Morgan - Wridhimann Saha (wk) - Glenn Maxwell - David Miller - Axar Patel - Mohit Sharma - Sandeep Sharma - KC Kariappa - Varun Aaron.
The Numbers Game
- David Warner has scored four fifties in his last five outings against KXIP. His scores in last five matches against Punjab are 52, 59, 81, 58 and 44.
- Rashid Khan has picked up a wicket in his first over in every match he's played in this IPL.
Sunrisers and Kings XI are facing each other for the first time this season, and the match being held in Hyderabad offers some much-needed home advantage to the Sunrisers. Kings XI are a good team but Hyderabad have won both their matches at home until now and this gives them the upper hand in this contest