Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings are going to fight it out in the 37th match of this season. Both the teams are at the bottom of the table and there is a high possibility that if SRH fails to win this match, they might end their qualification hopes. PBKS have won one match out of the last four and sit at six points in nine matches, whereas SRH has lost all their last four matches and only have two points in eight games.
SRH and PBKS played the first round of this fixture in the 14th match of the season. Interestingly this was Hyderabad’s only victory and it came without breaking much sweat. A nine-wicket victory chasing 121 saw both the bowling and batting department fire for the team.
SRH’s middle order failed again vs DC and they ended up with just 134 on the board which did not prove to be much for DC as they chased it down in 18 overs. With Bairstow not available, SRH was hoping for Williamson and Warner to fire but they were also struggling to play their natural game.
PBKS had the game till the 18th over or even the 19th over. The always dependable opening partnership of Mayank and Rahul had made the work easier with a century stand but as Punjab Fans have seen it recently, the team failed to cross the last hurdle. PBKS lost to RR when 4 runs were needed in 6 balls with 8 wickets in hand.
Batting: It is often said in cricket if your openers are firing it is more than half the job done, but it has not been true for PBKS. Rahul and Mayank have scored more than 50 % of the team’s runs, but the franchise has lacked sensible batting by the other batters. They do have one of the best T-20 batters in Gayle and some other promising youngsters. But the issue has been with consistency and scoring big. The openers together have seven 50+ scores, and the remaining players have only one 50 to their name. PBKS will need a big score from one of their middle-order batters.
Bowling: Arshdeep Singh picked up a 5 wicket haul and bowled brilliantly in the death against RR. He is their leading wicket-taker followed by the Indian star Shami who is having a good IPL and has been economical. The inconsistency with selection has been a problem with Punjab, the team doesn’t know who their front-line spinners are. It may sometimes bring in a match-winning performance like the one by Harpreet Brar where he picked up the Kohli, Maxwell, and De Villers in one go.
Batting: The team has always been known for their bowling strength but has never struggled so much in their batting department in the previous seasons. Just like Punjab they too are heavily dependent on their openers. Warner and Bairstow can be one of the best opening pairs in IPL, but one is not playing and the other one is struggling to play his game. Williamson looked rusty in the last game and SRH does look more in trouble with the bat than PBKS. The no 3,4 & 5 of any team are the core of the line-up and they failed for SRH in the last match. There is no lack of experience in Williamson, Pandey, and Jadhav. The combined score of that middle order was 38( 50).
Bowling: One of the best bowling lineups has not put up the numbers on the board as expected. It may be due to lack of form or maybe they just don’t have enough runs on the board to defend. Only Rashid Khan has wickets in double figures Bhuvneshwar Kumar has 3 wickets in 6 matches. The yorker specialist Natarajan has not played more than 2 matches. The game has been simple versus this bowling lineup in IPL. Playout Rashid and attack the others.
Both teams have consistently made changes, and definitely, there will be many going into this match. SRH have won 12 against Punjab and lost just 5 games, they will be favourites keeping in mind their last encounter in this season. Punjab would want to bat first given their nervousness while chasing and will help their cause as the SRH middle order is totally out of form.
SRH doesn’t have many experienced options in the squad and might look to bring in Jason Roy for Holder and Abhishek Sharma for Kedhar Jadhav to cover the 5 bowling options. Punjab on the other side would want to bring in Gayle in place of Fabian Allen who was used with the bowl in the last game. They might even like to replace Adil Rashid with Bishnoi and go with an Indian bowling line-up.
PBKS X1: KL Rahul ( c & wk), M Agarwal, C Gayle, A Markram, N Pooran, D Hooda, C. Jordan, H Brar, A Singh, M Shami, R Bishnoi.
SRH X1: J Roy, W Saha (wk), D Warner, K Williamson (c), M Pandey, A Samad, A Sharma, R Khan, B Kumar, S Sharma, K Ahmed