Hyderabad: Having climbed to the top half of the table, Sunrisers Hyderabad would look to stay put there and have a game against bottom-placed Kings XI Punjab as their relatively easy task at home on Saturday. However, they would do well to remember the topsy-turvy nature of the IPL when they set feet on the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium turf. Languishing last, the pink pack from Punjab is certainly not in the pink of health. They will need to turn on the heat, red hot, if they are to fire their way up.
The Eagles have the momentum though, having comprehensively beaten the Mumbai Indians and Gujarat Lions in successive games. Captain David Warner has stepped it up nicely and has been carrying the torch at the top. The hosts would like him to keep going, hammer and tongs at that.
With an emphatic 10-wicket win over Gujarat Lions on Thursday the Sunrisers may have exorcised many a batting demon, particularly in a certain Dhawan’s head. That unbeaten half-century should stand Shikhar in good stead.
However, all’s not very well though. Allrounder Moises Henriques is averaging just 15 with the bat while the domestic players too need to punch a lot more. Deepak Hooda and Naman Ojha would have to come up with significant contributions to rally around.
Having restricted Mumbai to a modest 142 and then the Gujarat Lions to 138, the bowling front looks a lot better for the Sunrisers. Seamers Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Barinder Sran and Moises are on the upswing, evident from the impressive figures in the economy rate and wickets columns. Bangladeshi left-armer Mustafizur Rahman has added vitality to the attack with his off-cutters and has the rival batsmen literally on their knees, many a time.
Punjab go into the game after a humiliating six-wicket defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders at home. Their batting looks battered. ‘Big Show’ Glenn Maxwell hasn’t turned up yet while captaincy seems to have weighed down the dashing David Miller. With aggregates of 38 and 37 runs respectively from four innings so far, Punjab’s Top Two present a not-so-pleasing picture. Time they make their presence count. Shaun Marsh, Manan Vohra and Murali Vijay have shared the batting burden so far.
There’s not much to write about the Kings’ bowling, which was smashed around by the Kolkata Knights in their previous match. They’d be desperate for a turnaround....