The Kings XI Punjab are all set to take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the only team that has proved to be invincible in the tournament- right from the tosses to matches on Thursday (April 19).
The Kings XI Punjab have won 2 out of their 3 matches and after denying MS Dhoni’s attempt to win a thrilling game at Mohali the other day, would be feeling pretty confident about their campaign.
As far as the Sunrisers Hyderabad is concerned, although the team has won all its games, the Hyderabad team can be tested if they have to set a target for the opposition tonight at the IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali. In all their matches, the Orange Army has bowled first, restricted the team to a gettable total and then chased down that total comfortably. However, batting first can be a different challenge altogether.
Sunrisers, it is fair to say, have fielded themselves to victory in each of the three games as their fielders have picked up some outstanding catches as well as saved some valuable runs for the team. SRH would hope that their fielding unit continues to perform well and contribute towards the team’s success. Bowling has always been a strong department of the Sunrisers Hyderabad and this year seems to be no different.
The interesting point is that SRH have defeated Kings XI Punjab 4 times out of 4 in Mohali, however, this season, KXIP are yet to lose a single game in Mohali. Punjab would try and keep this record intact before shifting to their adopted home in Indore.
R Ashwin has been impressive as a skipper and now with Chris Gayle among the scheme of things, the Punjab top order looks as solid as some of the other teams in the tournament. Although the pace attack is a thing to worry about for the Punjab-think tank, the spinners have more than made it up for the bowling unit as a whole.
Chris Gayle and KL Rahul can be the impact batsmen from the Punjab dugout. Although Gayle did not feature in the first couple of games, he played a wonderful innings against the Chennai Super Kings, scoring a 22 ball half-century. KL Rahul is another key batsman who has been striking the ball beautifully for them and after starting the campaign with the fastest IPL fifty has added scores of 47 and 37 in the next two games. Rahul though, would be hoping to convert such starts into bigger scores.
From the Hyderabad team Shikhar Dhawan can be a threat to Punjab. Other than Dhawan, it could well be Kane Williamson’s night in Punjab. SRH will need them to score big runs to post a challenging total on the board.
The bowling unit featuring the likes of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Billy Stanlake, has been exceptional and a major reason why SRH have been doing so well till now. And one must never discard Rashid Khan before a game against SRH, as he has been extremely difficult to score of and at the same time has picked up wickets, whenever the team has needed the most.
The spinners are doing it for the KXIP till now and skipper R Ashwin and Mujeeb ur Rehman have been brilliant with the ball, not giving away too many runs and making life difficult for the batsmen. A little support from the pace battery can help the Punjab franchise further.
Aaron Finch who has failed to score a single run in the tournament, could be replaced by Marcus Stoinis, who can also double up as the sixth bowling option. The SRH are likely to remain unchanged for their encounter against KXIP.
When Bhuvi, Billy and Rashid mark their run up to bowl against the likes of Gayle and Rahul, expect nothing less than a fantastic cricketing evening from IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali. Broadcast starts at 20:00 Hours (IST).