A cracker of a game is expected to be on the cards on Thursday as Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) and SunRisers Hyderabad (SRH) clash in the Indian Premier League (IPL)’s 2020 edition. Both the teams are desperate for a win this time around, after their shaky middle-orders were exposed in their previous matches.
KXIP's batting has relied completely on Rahul and Mayank, who have amassed 302 and 272 runs respectively. Despite also having Glenn Maxwell and Nicholas Pooran in their ranks, the team has struggled on almost every occasion once the opening pair has departed. KXIP needs to fix this problem as soon as possible if they aim to enter the play-offs stage.
Similar is the story of their bowling attack, which has so far revolved only around Mohammed Shami. Barring the Indian speedster, the others - M Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi and Sheldon Cottrell have largely failed. The KL Rahul-led side needs to click as a unit not only against SRH but in the other clashes too, if they want to remain in hunt of a play-offs berth.
SRH too have faced problems in the middle-order. After David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, who open the innings, the middle-order has mostly let the team down. The 2016 IPL champions lack a power-hitter in the middle-order. Priyam Garg came up with a half-century in a game but the 19-year-old has failed to maintain consistency. Moreover, SRH's most dependable batsman Kane Williamson has not been up to mark, failing to anchor the innings whenever needed.
On the bowling front, SRH's think-tank would surely be in a dilemma after losing the services of their most reliable and most experienced seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has now been ruled out of the season and replaced by Prithvi Raj Yarra. It would be an opportunity for T Natarajan, Khaleel Ahmed and Sandeep Sharma to fill the gap and hog the limelight in the absence of Bhuvneshwar but it remains to be seen which of them grabs the opportunity with both hands. Rashid Khan will once again be SRH's go-to man but the Afghan spinner now also needs to lead the entire SRH bowling attack, being the most experienced of all.
Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul (Captain), Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Simran Singh
SRH: Kane Williamson, David Warner (Captain), Jonny Bairstow, Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Virat Singh, Prithvi Yara, Basil Thampi, Abhishek Sharma, Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Mitchell Marsh, Bavanaka Sandeep, Fabian Allen, Abdul Samad, Sanjay Yadav, Rashid Khan.