David Warner will be aiming to finish his scintillating campaign on a high as Sunrisers Hyderabad’s brittle middle-order face a tricky test against Kings XI Punjab at Hyderabad on Monday.
With both teams locked on 10 points from 11 games, a win will give either some breathing space ahead of their final two matches. For Hyderabad, KXIP encounter is the last game where they can avail the services of Warner before he leaves home for Australia’s World Cup alongside Steven Smith and Marcus Stoinis.
Since his comeback from the ball tampering scandal, Warner has scored 611 runs in the tournament so far and is the current Orange Cap holder. With IPL’s second highest scorer Jonny Bairstow (445) already back home, Sunrisers’ will face the problem in the last two games as they will miss their set opening pair.
In all the five games that they have won this season, Warner-Bairstow combination worked wonders, and their defeats had been much about middle-order collapses and poor death bowling. Kings XI Punjab led by their mercurial skipper Ravichandran Ashwin will be aiming to be more consistent in winning key moments of the game.
Ashwin and the wily Mohammed Shami will like to pose a few tough questions for the Sunrisers middle-order, who have been under some pressure.
Just like Sunrisers, Kings XI Punjab’s batting top-heavy, which has reflected in their performances throughout the season. Openers Chris Gayle (444 runs) and KL Rahul (441 runs) have done bulk of the scoring while Mayank Agarwal (262) has come good occasionally.
David Miller (202 in nine games) and Sarfaraz Khan (180 in eight games) got their chances but didn’t perform in most games, making it extremely difficult for Ashwin. However the skipper will feel good about young Nicholas Pooran’s show in the last game against RCB, where he kept the team in the hunt at the back end of the innings.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (c), Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami, Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem.
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Karun Nair, Moises Henriques, Varun Chakravarthi, Harpreet Brar, Simran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Hardus Viljoen, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi.