You either have a good middle-order or you don’t. At least that’s been one of the narratives of this IPL so far. Both Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad botched up modest chases over the weekend. While KXIP fell short of 161 in Chennai, despite Sarfaraz Khan and KL Rahul racking up fifties deep into the chase, SRH collapsed to 96 all-out whilst chasing 137 at home, imploding for the only time their top-order couldn’t see them through.
SRH and KXIP boast of some firepower at the top and will welcome the pitch at Mohali after having played their last match on sluggish pitches in Hyderabad and Chennai respectively. Both sides also sit on six points – with 3 wins and 2 losses – so the match in Mohali on Monday becomes a lot about who gets their finishing act right. On one of the better surfaces of the tournament, it just might make the difference.
SRH will have the Kane Williamson conundrum to tackle. It’s unusual when your regular captain’s return to match fitness might actually be disruptive to team balance. Mohammad Nabi has come in and taken on an important job bowling with the newish ball in the powerplay overs, and his accuracy could come in handy against Chris Gayle and KL Rahul. But if Williamson is fit indeed, he should be back to lead the side.
KXIP, on the other hand, would walk into the game largely confident but who will be willing to take risks, play the ugly hand and get them home in a tight situation? They clearly lacked that intent against Chennai Super Kings and fell well short.
What: Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 22nd Match at 8:00PM IST
Where: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
What to expect:A sporting pitch that aids shot-making and assists cutters and spin might be on offer again.Chasing teams have won only 4 out of 15 games starting at 8PM here, suggesting that dew doesn’t play a big part at this venue.
Kings XI Punjab
Punjab continue to make do with only five bowlers in the side. Sam Curran returns to the venue where he picked up a hat-trick, and that is likely to keep Mujeeb Ur Rahman out of the side again. Varun Chakravarthy, if he’s back to being 100% fit, might be considered but Murugan Ashwin should keep his place.
Probable XI: Lokesh Rahul(w), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin(c), Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami
Tom Moody is not one to make changes after just one heavy loss. Kane Williamson’s fitness remains an issue, and perhaps the team’s missing ingredient on days the openers don’t fire.
Probable XI: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow(w), Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Yusuf Pathan, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar(c), Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul
What they said:
“When Kane will be fit, he will come back because he is our captain. Of course, there’ll be a difficulty because everyone is performing well but it’s not a concern for us right now.” – Bhuvneshwar Kumar