Sunrisers Hyderabad: Played 2, Won 0 ‘ Punjab Kings: Played 2 Won 2
Smarting from back-to-back defeats, Sunrisers Hyderabad will have a lot to ponder, especially addressing their batting frailties, when they take on high-flying Punjab Kings in the Indian Premier League in Hyderabad on Sunday.
For a team that finished eighth in the last two editions, SRH would have hoped for a better start to the season but ended up suffering two crushing defeats, against Rajasthan Royals and Lucknow Super Giants respectively.
A poor show with the bat despite some exciting players in their line-up is the prime reason behind their failure.
Sunrisers Hyderabad’s struggles to build partnerships saw them score just 131 and 121 in their two matches so far.
Losing wickets in a heap has proved to be their bane as they failed to get any momentum. If SRH were 30 for 2 in the Powerplay in the first game, they scored 43 for 1 against LSG, only to fritter it away and slip to 55 for 4 in nine overs.
The return of new skipper Aiden Markram too didn’t change their fate as he was out for a duck. The ability to play spin was behind the rise of Harry Brook but he got out to spinners in both the matches.
In the top-order, SRH tried wicketkeeper Anmolpreet Singh as an opener instead of Abhishek Sharma in their last match and he looked promising, but Mayank Agarwal and Rahul Tripathi have been inconsistent.
In fact, it took two cameos from Abdul Samad to take SRH to a decent total in the two matches. With big-hitting Heinrich Klaasen waiting in the wings, it remains to be seen what combination they go for to prop up the batting.
Afghan pacer Fazalhaq Farooqi has been most consistent for them but, to be fair, the bowlers didn’t have enough total to defend, something which SRH will have to address at the earliest.
Punjab, on the other hand, are soaring high after two comprehensive wins.
If Kolkata Knight Riders were beaten by seven runs via the DLS at Mohali, Rajasthan were crushed by five runs in Guwahati as Punjab produced a fine display of their bowling and batting prowess.
Captained by the experienced and calm Shikhar Dhawan, PBKS rode on their superior batting, led by their Indian players, to put up 190-plus scores and then defended the totals with Arshdeep Singh delivering the goods in the two matches.
Dhawan has led from the front with two fifties, while Prabhsimran Singh and B Rajapaksa raised their hands when needed as the top order has looked solid.
Among foreign recruits, Nathan Ellis was sensational against RR in the last match but pace bowling all-rounder Sam Curran — the most expensive buy ever in IPL history at Rs 18.50 crore — has so far leaked a lot of runs.
However, on paper PBKS has the edge and it will take a special effort from SRH to outwit them at their own den.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Aiden Markram (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Abdul Samad, Abhishek Sharma, Mayank Agarwal, Anmolpreet Singh, Harry Brook, Mayank Dagar, Fazalhaq Farooqi, Akeal Hosein, Kartik Tyagi, Heinrich Klaasen, Mayank Markande, T Natarajan, Nitish Kumar Reddy, Glenn Phillips, Adil Rashid, Sanvir Singh, Rahul Tripathi, Umran Malik, Vivrant Sharma, Samarth Vyas, Washington Sundar, Upendra Yadav.
Punjab Kings: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Arshdeep Singh, Baltej Singh, Raj Bawa, Rahul Chahar, Sam Curran, Rishi Dhawan, Nathan Ellis, Harpreet Brar, Harpreet Singh, Vidwath Kaverappa, Liam Livingstone, Mohit Rathee, Prabhsimran Singh, Kagiso Rabada, Bhanuka Rajapaksa, M Shahrukh Khan, Jitesh Sharma, Shivam Singh, Matthew Short, Sikandar Raza, Atharva Taide.
Match starts: 7:30pm IST.
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