The Sunrisers Hyderabad will fight it out against the Kings XI Punjab at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium in Hyderabad on Thursday (April 26).
Recovering from a couple of losses, the SRH would be extremely confident about themselves after a great win against the Mumbai Indians. After scoring just a 118 runs on the board, Sunrisers came on top, credit to a wonderful display of bowling from a Bhuvneshwar Kumar less bowling attack. When Bhuvi joins the team for Thursday’s encounter (expected to do so as per reports), SRH would feel more confident about their campaign this season.
Kings XI Punjab are having a great season this year. With 5 out of 6 wins, KXIP would try and make the most of this kind of start and continue the winning momentum going into the latter half of the tournament. Chris Gayle is expected to be back in place of David Miller and given the form he is in, one can expect another high scoring game tonight.
Though the Hyderabad wicket is not usually a 200 plus kind of a wicket, one can expect 180 kind of a track but Gayle can easily be the difference between a 180 and 200. Kane Williamson has been great for the Sunrisers Hyderabad this season and the captain has been doing a good job for the team so far, leading the team by example and delivering whenever the situation has demanded.
After an injury revival Shikhar Dhawan would be keen to provide good starts to the team once again and in form Dhawan can make their batting department a bit more solid. Yusuf Pathan and Shakib have looked good too and might have to perform with the bat when oppotunity presents itself. With an injury to Billy Stanlake, somebody like an Alex Hales might get a game, which means Dhawan and Hales to open and Williamson at No. 3 could be the way to go forward, since SRH’s batting has been the weaker section of their unit and the inclusion of Hales can strengthen just that.
However, that would mean only 5 bowling options for SRH and Yusuf Pathan, who hasn’t bowled pretty much in the tournament and Williamson himself may be required to roll their arms over as the 6th option, if needed.
Apart from Gayle, KL Rahul has had a great run in the 11th edition of IPL and the opening duo of Gayle and Rahul has provided Punjab the perfect platform to launch on to in the end overs. There is no doubt that Rahul and Gayle will try and repeat the same tonight in Hyderabad. Mayank Agarwal and Karun Nair have got starts but have got out to irresponsible shots, something they would like to rectify in this match.
A very critical game for Yuvraj Singh if at all he gets a game. Yuvi has looked in all kinds of trouble in the tournament. If Yuvi returns to form, KXIP batting makes for as good a batting unit as ever one will come across in the tournament. For big players, it is that one good innings that they might need. However, Punjab has capable replacements for Yuvraj in the squad as well and they might have a look at their options.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar, if declared fit, will be the key bowler for SRH. Would be interesting to see who he replaces in the XI- Siddarth Kaul or Sandeep Sharma, since Bhuvi can bowl upfront as well during the death overs, he can replace Sandeep Sharma, who hasn’t done too bad either. Rashid Khan’s welcome to form against the Mumbai Indians after going for 90 odd runs for 1 wicket in his previous 2 games, would be a good sign for SRH going into this match.
Andrew Tye, skipper R. Ashwin and Mujeeb Ur Rehman have been great for the Kings XI and the Punjab franchise would want to continue their winning streak and that can only happen if their bowlers deliver tonight.
That being said, a battle between SRH’s bowling and KXIP’s batting seems to be on the cards from Hyderabad tonight. Broadcast starts at 20:00 Hours (IST).