Pressure on Kings XI to get off bottom of table

Match facts

Saturday, April 23, 2016
Start time 2000 local (14.30 GMT)

Glenn Maxwell has not scored an IPL fifty in 24 innings © BCCI

Big Picture

Having started with back-to-back defeats, Sunrisers Hyderabad recovered to post back-to-back victories. Kings XI Punjab started similarly slowly and recovered briefly with a win against Rising Pune Supergiants before faltering again in their next game against Kolkata Knight Riders. As a result, they are languishing at the bottom of the points table.

Manan Vohra and M Vijay have provided solidly at the top of the order, but that hasn’t made up for a shaky middle order – Shaun Marsh’s unbeaten half-century against Knight Riders was an exception. Their big-ticket players – Glenn Maxwell and David Miller – have only managed a combined tally of 75 runs in four matches. The concerns seep into their bowling attack as well. Neither Mitchell Johnson nor Kyle Abbott have been penetrative and the Sharmas – Mohit and Sandeep – have blown hot and cold. The seamers have put more pressure on left-arm spinner Axar Patel.

Sunrisers, led by David Warner, are in a happier space. Warner has struck three half-centuries, two of which have resulted in comfortable victories. Shikhar Dhawan regained form with a fifty of his own in Sunrisers’ ten-wicket win in Rajkot. Bhuvneshwar Kumar has swung the new ball both ways in addition to unfurling slower balls in the end overs. Mustafizur Rahman is fast enhancing his reputation with his bag of cutters. After claiming the Man-of-the-Match award on Thursday, Bhuvneshwar said:” No one can bowl the way Mustafizur bowls.”

Form guide

Sunrisers Hyderabad: WWLL (most recent matches first)
Kings XI Punjab: LWLL

In the spotlight

Wicketkeeper-batsman Naman Ojha enjoyed a productive domestic season. He made 645 runs in the Ranji Trophy, including four successive fifty-plus scores in the knockouts, and then led Rest of India to a historic win against Mumbai. He pitched in with 37 off 28 against Knight Riders last weekend, and is the fail-safe in Sunrisers’ middle order.

Wriddhiman Saha may be a better keeper than Ojha but his batting form has dipped. He has scratched his way to 35 runs in four matches. That he has not batted in the same position twice so far this season hasn’t helped his cause, but he, like his team, will be hoping to turn things around.

Team news

Having identified a settled combination, despite injuries to Ashish Nehra, Yuvraj Singh and Kane Williamson, Sunrisers are unlikely to tinker with their XI.

Sunrisers Hyderabad (probable) 1 David Warner (capt), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Moises Henriques, 4 Eoin Morgan, 5 Deepak Hooda 6 Naman Ojha (wk), 7 Aditya Tare, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 9 Bipul Sharma, 10 Mustafizur Rahman, 11 Barinder Sran

Kings XI might consider bringing Mitchell Johnson back in place of Kyle Abbott.

Kings XI Punjab (probable) 1 M Vijay, 2 Manan Vohra, 3 Shaun Marsh 4, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 5 David Miller (capt), 6 Glenn Maxwell, 7 Axar Patel, 8 Mohit Sharma, 9 Pardeep Sahu, 10 Kyle Abbott/Mitchell Johnson, 11 Sandeep Sharma

Pitch and conditions

The surface at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium has offered some early assistance to the seamers, and the ball usually comes on to the bat better in the second innings.

Stats and trivia

  • Dhawan and Warner have been involved in four century partnerships, the most by any pair for the first wicket in the IPL
  • Maxwell has not scored a half-century in 24 innings in the IPL. His last half-century came against Chennai Super Kings in May 2014

Deivarayan Muthu is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Source: ESPN Crickinfo

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