Kings XI Punjab face Sunrisers Punjab in a must win game on Thursday at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium.
KL Rahul’s Kings XI Punjab is going through a rough patch and their inability to convert the big moments is costing them points. They failed to hold their nerves against Delhi Capitals. They were undone by some superhuman batting from Rahul Tewatia and Sanju Samson against Rajasthan Royals.
Although KL Rahul led from the front with a brilliant century against Royal Challengers Bangalore, they were handsomely beaten by Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings. Despite all the ups and downs, KXIP batting has done reasonably well. It has been their bowling that has lost them the matches more often.
In the current edition of the IPL, KXIP has conceded most runs in death overs. To get back to winning ways, they need to arrest this trend. Punjab’s bowling was so poor in the last match that they couldn’t even pick up single wicket against CSK. The bowling attack looked toothless with three out of five bowlers conceding runs at an economy rate more than ten.
Sunrisers Hyderabad have also been inconsistent, losing their first two games against Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. They bounced back in grand style with wins over Delhi Capitals and Chennai Super Kings. However, their momentum was halted when they failed to chase down a score in excess of 200 against Mumbai Indians at Sharjah.
With a misfiring middle-order, the Sunrisers face a difficult selection decision. They have to decide whether to stick with Kane Williamson in the middle order or bring Mohammad Nabi back in the lineup. Bringing the latter into the team will put more pressure on Indian batsmen in the middle order.
SRH have historically been a bowling-heavy team that depends heavily on their fast-bowling. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar ruled out of tournament due to injury, SRH are certainly in a spot of bother. It was apparent in their previous match as well that bowling in the death without Kumar will be an issue.
KXIP also do not have a good record against SRH, losing 10 out of 14 encounters, but they have managed to pull things back with a win in two out of the last five encounters. It is a must win for both teams, so fans can expect a nail-biting encounter.
By Aashish Jaju