The Sunrisers Hyderabad will take on the Kings XI Punjab in match 19 of the IPL 2017 in Hyderabad on 17 April. These two teams have had a similar IPL so far – winning their first two games and then going on to lose the next two. This match will decide who inches ahead on the points table in the first half of the tournament.
While the Kings XI are a powerhouse batting line-up, SRH have one of the best bowling attacks of the tournament. It’ll be Punjab’s batsmen vs Hyderabad’s bowlers in this exciting contest at Hyderabad.
Let’s take a look at what will be the five factors of winning for the two teams:
#1 With the bat
Kings XI made a change to their batting in the last match against the Daredevils when they added Eoin Morgan to the line-up ahead of Marcus Stoinis. This move certainly added more strength to the team but couldn’t get them the desired result. Glenn Maxwell and Co. will be hoping that their middle order fire against the SRH, after they failed miserably when they faced the DD bowlers.
While Amla has been consistent at the top, Manan Vohra has failed to convert his starts into a big score. Maxwell and Miller too haven’t fired after the first two matches. Kings XI would love to see all of them fire in unison to get them past SRH.
For Sunrisers Hyderabad, the batting power lies at the top. David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan form one of the most consistent opening pairs in the IPL, and they are followed by Moises Henriques and Yuvraj Singh at 3 and 4 respectively. SRH will need these four to stay in the middle for a majority of the 20 overs whether they are batting first or second if they are to challenge the Kings XI.
#2 With the ball
Kings XI’s bowling is pace-heavy, with Varun Aaron, Natarajan and the three Sharmas – Sandeep, Mohit and Ishant, forming their attack. Although they might play only three of these five and opt for two spinners in Axar Patel and KC Kariappa, their fortunes will still depend on how well their pacers bowl to the aggressive SRH batsmen.
If Sandeep and Aaron can dent the batting early, it’ll make the job easier for the two spinners in the middle overs.
For SRH, it’ll once again be the purple cap holder, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who will be the key man. Their bowling is loaded with pacers too as Bhuvneshwar, Nehra, Cutting and Henriques will bowl a majority of the overs.
If they play Mustafizur Rahman, it’ll only add to their strength, but their trump card, as has been the case thus far, will be the young leggie from Afghanistan, Rashid Khan. He has taken a wicket in his first over in all the 4 matches that he has played, and would love to continue doing so in this match too.
The Kings XI have been flexible with their batting line-up so far in the tournament. Except the opening pair, no one has had a settled batting position. This might continue to be the case here too, but if they bat first, they must bat Maxwell higher at No. 3 so that he can face the maximum number of overs.
He must be followed by Morgan at 4 and Miller at 5 so that the Kings have the best chance of posting a big score. If they are chasing, they may move batsmen around as per the need of the hour.
With the ball, the Kings must use their spinners smartly. Opening with Kariappa alongside Sandeep against the two left-handed openers of the SRH might be a good move to upset their rhythm.
For SRH, they must push Yuvraj Singh to No. 3 if they get a decent opening start. He can sustain the momentum and can go big against the spinners to put pressure on the Punjab bowlers. If they lose one early, promoting Naman Ojha to No. 3 to settle the innings might be a good idea considering it’s still early days in the tournament and they would need him to be in good touch going forward.
They must try opening the bowling with Bipul Sharma as Kings XI have two right-handers at the top of the order. He would be able to lend good support to Bhuvneshwar at the start and a few early wickets can hurt the SRH badly as they don’t bat deep.
#4 The David-Dhawan duo
Perhaps the only team other than KKR to have been consistent with their opening pair over the years is SRH as they have the ever-reliable opening combo of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan at their disposal.
These two have been providing good starts to their team on a regular basis at the top and we hardly ever see an occasion when SRH lose both of them in the first 6 overs. This is exactly where their strength lies.
SRH don’t bat deep and hence it is imperative that they get a good start in the first 6-8 overs and a platform is laid for their middle order strikers like Yuvraj and Cutting to be able to explode towards the end. These two getting out early would mean these explosive middle order players would be exposed early and will have to build the innings rather than go for their big shots.
For this reason, it’ll be extremely critical once again for the David-Dhawan duo to provide their team a decent if not smashing opening start.
#5 Kings XI’s all-indian bowling attack
Kings XI is perhaps the only team in this year’s IPL whose bowling attack comprises entirely of Indian bowlers. Among the pacers, they have played Mohit, Sandeep, Ishant, Aaron and Natarajan, and the spinners have been Axar, Swapnil and Kariappa. Their strategy has been to include four foreign batsmen and rely on Indian bowlers to win them games.
Even in the reserves, they have more foreign batsmen than bowlers with Marsh, Guptill and Stoinis on the bench. Hence it becomes very important for them that their inexperienced Indian bowlers assess the conditions quickly and deliver the goods for their team.
Sandeep needs to pick early wickets with his big inswingers, Varun Aaron needs to harness his extreme pace in the right direction to reap results and Axar must do what he does best – keep the batsmen on a tight leash in the middle overs.
If their Indian bowling attack start delivering consistently, Kings XI might be a hard team to stop!