The defending IPL champions, Sunrisers Hyderabad are unbeaten at home so far in IPL 2017 but are yet to win an away game. Despite being well placed to qualify for the playoffs once again, that is one statistic they will look to change as they take on Kings XI Punjab at Mohali.
With their previous game against RCB washed out, SRH will be looking to claim their first away win against a side that has won just one of their last five matches. SRH have a 7-2 lead in the overall head-to-head record against Kings XI, which included an impressive victory earlier in the season when Bhuvneshwar Kumar picked up 5 for 19 and helped defend 159.
Kings XI Punjab finally ended their four-game losing streak by beating Gujarat Lions in their last encounter. But the win might have come at a cost. Captain Glenn Maxwell admitted that Hashim Amla was struggling towards the end of the innings and the in-form South African batsman might be replaced by Martin Guptill if he isn't completely fit. David Miller is unlikely to find his place back in a crowded middle-order while Marcus Stoinis too might not get another game now that Darren Sammy is available for selection.
In the absence of Mustafizur Rahman and Ashish Nehra, SRH's bowling has looked as dangerous and they have had to call on uncapped players such as Siddarth Kaul and Mohammad Siraj. While the duo have done well, the onus of taking wickets has fallen on the shoulders of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Rashid Khan. Although Bhuvi is the leading wicket-taker in the tournament, Rashid hasn't been as impressive in the last couple of games, so it won't be a surprise if they bring back Ashish Nehra into the game.
Kings XI Punjab have an in-form top order that has been amongst the runs while their bowling has let them down on too many occasions. SRH's top three are all in great form, so expect a high-scoring clash between two sides whose bowling isn't at the level they would want it to be. It will be an interesting to see which side can contain the explosive hitting better and come out on top in Mohali.
Match date: 28-04-2017
Match time: 2000 hours (IST)
Venue: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
If Kings XI Punjab bat first
Predicted score: 170+
Hashim Amla is in sparkling form but there is a slight concern about his fitness and while Manan Vohra scored a brilliant 95 against SRH earlier in the season, he doesn't done much of note apart from that. The major concern is the form of Shaun Marsh, who hasn't lived up to his lofty standards so far.
With Martin Guptill waiting in the wings and David Miller who could provide the final flourish, the Australian batsman might be running out of chances to prove himself or face the axe. Glenn Maxwell is in good form and while Wriddhiman Saha has made more headlines for his efforts behind the stumps, he hasn't crossed 25 once so far this season.
This will be the first match at Mohali this season and while the nature of the surface isn't obvious, the pitch is usually good for batting providing just a hint of help early for bowlers. And if there is one player who can exploit that it is Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
With the Champions Trophy just over a month away, the Indian pacer has shown just why he is one of the best T20 bowlers in the world with his incredible variations and control. He has taken wickets with the new ball, showcased incredible control over his yorkers and shown that he has the slower ball in his arsenal as well.
No one apart from MS Dhoni has got him away so far in IPL 2017 and Kings XI will have their task cut to make sure that changes. However, a strong start might make their job slightly easier with plenty of power hitters in the middle-order.
If Sunrisers Hyderabad bat first
Predicted score: 170+
If there is one side who have generally made a mockery of how to go about winning T20 matches, it is Sunrisers Hyderabad. With a strong bowling attack and just a few power hitters in the side, they have changed the perception of what it takes to win a T20 match. Leading from the front is their captain David Warner.
Such is the supreme form that David Warner is in that despite not looking in the best of form, he still has two forties and two unbeaten seventies to his name in the seven games so far. He has looked uncharacteristically slow in his last few games and whether that was just circumstance or a change in approach remains to be seen.
Both Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson have been in good form as well but without the unwell Yuvraj Singh, SRH's middle-order doesn't look as strong. If the Indian all-rounder is fit, it will be a huge boost for the visitors who have struggled to finish the innings as they would have liked so far.
Deepak Hooda, who was in brilliant form during the domestic season has struggled to replicate that so far in IPL 2017 and Naman Ojha hasn't always provided the final spark to finish the innings. Although Kings XI haven't been great at the death, it will be interesting to see how SRH's relatively inexperienced middle-order find a solution to their problems so far.
Predicted winners: Sunrisers Hyderabad