The Kings XI Punjab will take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad at their home ground, the Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali on Friday. The two teams have played each other on four occasions previously with both of them winning two matches each. This year, both teams are in contention for a play-off spot with the Sunrisers Hyderabad placed at third and the Kings XI Punjab placed at fifth position on the points table.
However, the KXIP have played one game less and have registered three wins out of the seven matches they have played so far. SRH, on the other hand, have played 8 games, winning four and losing three with one game being washed out by rain.
Both the teams have been seen in superb form as a team so far. They have registered comprehensive victories while also really unlucky to end up on the losing side in games that went down to the wire. Although the Sunrisers Hyderabad look like a stronger side, Kings XI Punjab have the players to outplay any opposition on their day.
Let us now have a look at the five factors that will play a pivotal role in determining the winners of the match.
#1 With the bat
The hosts have a couple of in-form players with the bat in Hashim Amla and Glenn Maxwell and they will be relying heavily on them again to hide their other weaknesses in the batting department. Manan Vohra hasn’t done anything noticeable in the tournament except for that innings of 95 (50) against the same opposition, that almost took KXIP to the doors of victory in Hyderabad.
Their wicket-keeper batsman, Wriddhiman Saha hasn’t been in great form with the bat and that adds to their batting woes as well. The replacement of David Miller with Shaun Marsh in the playing XI hasn’t yet delivered the goods expected.
However, their all-rounder Axar Patel has looked in sublime touch with the bat down the order, playing a couple of handy knocks of 40+ runs. The KXIP have been doing well as a batting unit but they need to extract the most out of their middle order as soon as possible.
The Sunrisers Hyderabad, on the other hand, have in-form players in their batting line-up. David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson, Moises Henriques and Yuvraj Singh have all registered at least one score of 50 to their name in this tournament so far and SRH will depend on them in their quest to make it to the play-offs.
The bulk of the scoring has been done by the top three batsmen like in the previous years. However, their lower middle order, with the likes of Naman Ojha and Deepak Hooda, hasn’t been tested yet. So, it remains to be seen how they fair when the top order fails to deliver, but the Sunrisers Hyderabad look like a stronger batting unit on paper and on form.
#2 With the ball
The Sunrisers Hyderabad aces this deciding factor also as their bowlers have been good in all stages of the game. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been equally good with the ball at the start and in the death overs of the innings. Mohammad Siraj and Siddharth Kaul have supported him well by keeping the run-rate in check and coming up with crucial breakthroughs at important stages of the match.
Moises Henriques has always tied down the batsmen in the middle overs and picked up the odd wicket whenever needed. Rashid Khan has been their go-to man with the ball whenever they need wickets at any stage of the game and he has never disappointed his team either. Overall, it can be said that all the bowlers have supported each other’s strengths and weaknesses well thus making them a formidable batting line-up.
KXIP, on the other hand, have been very good in the starting overs, picking up wickets and keeping the run-flow in control. Sandeep Sharma and Mohit Sharma extract a good amount of swing at the start which makes it really tough for the batsmen to score freely. However, things have gone wrong from the middle overs and onwards, and also leak runs heavily at the death.
Marcus Stoinis and Axar Patel are wicket-taking options but they have looked clueless on controlling the run-flow; Sandeep Sharma doesn’t look like the same bowler in the death overs as he does at the start.
It looks unlikely that SRH will have to use any new strategy in this match because they have quite a simple game plan. They bowl and bat to their strengths and that works wonders for them. Their strategy is to see off their respective weaknesses or the respective bowlers they are vulnerable to while batting and then take on the weaker bowlers
In the bowling department, they have each and every area covered and have particular bowlers set for particular batsmen.
Moreover, the bowlers execute their plans accurately and hence reap the rewards. One strategy they will probably use in this match is bowling leg-spin or left arm off spin to the dangerous Glenn Maxwell. The Australian has often perished to these type of bowlers and Warner will not shy away from using this strategy against his Australian team-mate.
KXIP will need to be very smart with their strategies in this match. Glenn Maxwell and KC Cariappa may bowl within the power-play to trouble the two left-handed batsmen, Warner and Dhawan. They will have to set an attacking field and lure the batsmen to play big shots hoping that the result will go down in their favour.
Moreover, Hashim Amla will have to be assigned the role of batting throughout the innings so that their weak middle order isn’t exposed.
Both the teams have quite a lot of dynamic players. Many consider Maxwell as the X-factor for KXIP, however, Axar Patel is equally dangerous as he has the ability to do equal damage both with bat and ball.
He bats at a good strike rate and provides the much-needed runs lower down the order, and also has the knack of picking up wickets with his left-arm spin too.
For the Sunrisers Hyderabad, Warner, Bhuvneshwar and Rashid could be considered as the X-factors of the team. However, one can’t discount the enigmatic Yuvraj Singh, who can change the course of a match in the blink of an eye. With the bat, the southpaw is nothing less than a thunderstorm, and can also be a useful bowler who can provide the breakthrough.
#5 Home advantage
Home advantage seems to be an unknown term to both these teams as both of them have won one encounter each in the two matches played at their respective home venues. KXIP, however, will be playing at their actual home for the first time in this tournament as they have played the first half of the tournament at Indore.
Their return to their home ground may act as a huge boost for the side as they will receive tremendous home support. However, the Sunrisers are still a tough nut to crack with the likes of Warner, Dhawan, Williamson, Yuvraj, Bhuvneshwar and Rashid in their ranks.