Kings XI Punjab started IPL 2017 with a bang but they slumped after two wins and were handed over four losses by the opposition teams. They seem to have recovered with a win against Gujarat Lions in the previous match where Hashim Amla and the spinners called the shots. KXIP must adapt quickly to Mohali conditions as they play their first game in their old home. Prior to this, they played their home matches at Indore.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are placed at third position in the standings with four wins and three defeats. Their last match against RCB was washed out. Before that they succumbed to Pune owing to a MSD special. They have not won even a single away game.
The pitch at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali is expected to be a tad slow. The batsman would relish their chances here. In the last four IPL games played here in 2016, all teams scored more than 170 with an exception of an innings by KXIP. So the first match here this season is expected to be a high scoring encounter.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – STRENGTHS
Hashim Amla is in top form with a century and a half century in the last two games.T Natarajan has bowled well in the death overs with good execution of wide yorkers and slower ones. K C Cariappa and Axar Patel are both amongst wickets. Manan Vohra and Glenn Maxwell are hitting the ball confidently and are match winners. KXIP came up with an all round show against Lions in the previous match which would have boosted their confidence.
KINGS XI PUNJAB – WEAKNESSES
KXIP have been inconsistent with both bat and ball this season. The bowling attack comprising of Sandeep Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Mohit Sharma and Varun Aaron lacks teeth and variety. Their batting also lacks depth as the batsmen with exception of Amla, Vohra and Maxwell have come a cropper this season.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD – STRENGTHS
David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan have mounted runs at the top of the order. Kane Williamson and Moises Henriques have strengthened the middle order. Bhubaneshwar Kumar, the holder of Purple Cap has lead the bowling attack with authority. Rashid Khan has made the best of batsmen look clueless with his intimating googlies. Henriques has done his part with both bat and ball.
SUNRISERS HYDERABAD – WEAKNESSES
The defending champions have the second lowest run rate in the Powerplay as Warner and Dhawan have not been at their fluent best. The bowlers barring Bhuvi and Rashid haven’t posed too many questions for the batsmen. The lower middle order, Naman Ojha, Deepak Hooda and Yuvraj Singh are not amongst runs. And SRH is still searching for their first away win.
KXIP – Darren Sammy has joined the squad after being on the sidelines due to injury. So he could replace out of form Marcus Stoinis. There are concerns regarding the availability of Amla as he pulled the hamstring in the last match. If he doesn’t play, then Eoin Morgan or David Miller can be included in the playing XI.
Hashim Amla, Manan Vohra, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell (capt), Darren Sammy, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Axar Patel, Mohit Sharma, KC Cariappa, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma
SRH – Yuvraj Singh can make a return to the playing XI if he recovers from the flu. Ashish Nehra could also play in this crucial encounter.
David Warner (capt), Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Moises Henriques, Yuvraj Singh, Naman Ojha (wk), Bipul Sharma, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra, Siddarth Kaul
HEAD TO HEAD
Overall: Played – 9, SRH – 7, KXIP – 2
In Mohali: Played – 3, SRH – 3, KXIP – 0
Their last match this season was a closely fought encounter with Manan Vohra’s 50 ball 95 nearly pulling it off for KXIP before Bhuvi turned the tide in SRH’s favour.
With SRH looking to close the gap with top two teams and KXIP striving to move up the ladder, this is going to be a nail bitin encounter. Here’s what we predict
If KXIP bats first
1st Innings Score – 180 – 190
KXIP wins by 20 – 30 runs
If SRH bats first
1st Innings Score – 170 – 180
SRH wins by 10 – 20 runs.