After suffering their worst start ever to an Indian Premier League season, Sunrisers Hyderabad will eye a much-needed victory when they face Punjab Kings at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai on Wednesday.
Hyderabad couldn’t have asked for a worse start to the season as they slumped to three straight defeats, all while chasing.
Punjab are a tad better than SRH, having registered one win out of three games and are placed at seventh in the points table.
|Mat||PBKS wins||SRH wins|
Chasing has been Sunrisers’ achilles’ heel so far in the league. The men in orange have been hit hard by the lack of depth in their playing XI and below-par Indian bench strength.
Captain Warner will feel the pressure of carrying the batting on his shoulders. He has scored 93 runs in the three matches he has played so far with the 54 against Royals Challengers Bangalore being the highest.
Warner and Rashid Khan are certainties in the foreign players’ slots, but the absence of Kane Williamson has been telling as he can provide solidity to the middle-order, especially since they have faltered in three consecutive chases.
Jonny Bairstow, meanwhile, remains the frontrunner for the wicketkeeper’s position.
But what would be troubling Warner most is the lack of depth in the team’s local batting resources.
The likes of Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad haven’t contributed enough, while middle order options in Kedar Jadhav and Priyam Garg are waiting in the wings.
As far as Hyderabad’s bowling is concerned, T Natarajan was replaced by Khaleel Ahmed in their last match and the latter did a good job to restrict Mumbai. But Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been on the expensive side.
Punjab too are on a losing streak after the win in their tournament opener over Rajasthan Royals. They lost to Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals in their last two games.
After a batting collapse against CSK, Punjab made a significant improvement and rode on fifties skipper KL Rahul (61) and Mayank Agarwal (69) to post a challenging 195/4 against Delhi.
But at the end of the day, a below-par effort from their bowlers, along with Rahul’s poor strike-rate, proved to be costly for them.
Mohammed Shami has not been at his best so far and leaked runs but what would be a concern for Rahul is the performance of Australian pace duo of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
Both Richardson and Meredith were expensive in all the matches they played without much success and Rahul might be tempted to bring in England all-rounder Chris Jordan.
Young Indian left-arm medium-pacer Arshdeep Singh has been a major plus for Punjab Kings so far.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner (C), Kane Williamson, Virat Singh, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Sreevats Goswami, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Kedar Jadhav, J Suchit, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddharth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Shahbaz Nadeem and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar.
Match starts at 3.30 pm IST on Wednesday.
(With inputs from PTI)
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