Both outfits come into the clash on the back of recent setbacks which threaten to derail what has been otherwise promising campaigns up till now for them.
Kings XI will welcome the comforts of home once again after a tricky examination at Chennai where they were found wanting by the defending champions. Ravi Ashwin’s homecoming at his old stomping ground did not turn out to be the stuff of dreams for the Kings XI skipper with his side falling to a 22-run defeat.
Despite what was their second defeat in five matches, Punjab will not be too disheartened by their showing in Chennai where a slow surface at the Chepauk Stadium made run-scoring extremely difficult for batsmen from either side.
They perhaps erred by not picking a third spinner in the playing XI in the form of Mujeeb ur Rahman but there were still a few positives to take for the visitors from their defeat.
POSITIVE SIGNS FOR PUNJAB
Bought for 25 lakhs INR, Sarfaraz Khan has managed to keep out Karun Nair, who was picked up for 5.6 crores INR. Not many sides would've given him a start straightaway. Credit to the #KXIP management, and he's repaid that faith so far.— Shashank Kishore (@captainshanky) April 6, 2019
While Ashwin continued to excel with the ball, opener KL Rahul found form with a battling half-century in difficult conditions. Another bright spark for Punjab was young Sarfaraz Khan with the right-handed batsmen backing up his promising campaign so far with a terrific 69-run knock.
Veteran opener Chris Gayle failed to fire on his return from injury but the explosive left-hander does not stay dormant for too long and we can expect him to erupt again sooner rather than later.
The side owns one of the most formidable opening pairings in IPL 2019 while its spin-contingent comprising of the two Ashwins (Ravi Ashwin and Murugan Ashwin) and Mujeeb ur Rahman is right up there as well. With the middle-order too finding a spine with the encouraging form of Sarfaraz, Punjab are starting to form a team capable of making a deep run in the tournament.
Like Kings XI, the Sunrisers too come into the clash on the back of a loss with Mumbai Indians handing them their second defeat of the competition on Saturday.
HYDERABAD’S WARNER-BAIRSTOW DEPENDENCY
Unlike Punjab, Hyderabad have reasons to worry after Mumbai debutant Alzarri Joseph’s 6-12 saw them bowled out for just 96 runs while attempting to chase 137.
Throughout their campaign prior to the Mumbai defeat, Hyderabad had made the most of their formidable bowling unit and the opening partnership between David Warner and Jonny Bairstow.
Warner and Bairstow had forged three century stands and one fifty plus partnership between themselves previously to lead Hyderabad’s strong start to their campaign. However, Hyderabad’s worst fears were realised on Saturday when their openers failed to fire with their untested middle-order completely collapsing under the pressure.
As such, Punjab will know that they stand a great chance against Hyderabad should they be able to dismiss Warner and Bairstow early into the innings. While the batting currently hinges on the two openers, the bowling unit is second to none with the likes of Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Mohammad Nabi and Sandeep Sharma looking extremely good.
Nabi’s sensational form with both bat and ball since coming into the playing XI has been a welcome surprise for the franchise although it has come at the expense of Kane Williamson.
The Sunrisers skipper had scored 755 runs last year where he led the team admirably to a runner-up finish but he now finds himself without a spot in the playing XI.
It is hard to see the Kiwi stalwart displace either of Warner, Bairstow, Rashid or Nabi on current form and he could be waiting on the sidelines for some time to come before he gets a go in the playing XI.
Kings XI Punjab: Chris Gayle, KL Rahul (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Mayank Agarwal, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravi Ashwin (c), Andrew Tye, Mohammed Shami, Murugan Ashwin.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Nabi, Yusuf Pathan, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (c), Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul.
The Indian Premier League has seen some explosive debut performances by players over the years and the 2019 edition is proving to be no different with Alzarri Joseph becoming the latest to make his mark.
The West Indies pacer was handed his IPL debut on Saturday by the Mumbai Indians in their clash against Sunrisers Hyderabad. With Mumbai attempting to defend a modest total of 136, Joseph produced a display for the ages and ended with astonishing figures of 6-12 to lead his side to a 40-run win.
Here, we take a look at where the Caribbean pacer’s efforts rank among the best debut performances in the IPL.
David Wiese for RCB vs Mumbai Indians (2015)
Royal Challengers Bangalore shelled out nearly half a million (US$460,000) in the 2015 auction to secure the services of David Wiese and the South African all-rounder repaid that faith in him with a debut to remember.
Wiese dismissed Rohit Sharma and Kieron Pollard to finish with excellent figures of 4-33. The all-rounder’s impact was not just limited to the ball as he then followed it up with an unbeaten 25-ball 47 with the bat.
However, it still wasn’t enough to prevent a defeat for Bangalore with Mumbai emerging victorious by 18 runs.
Kevon Cooper for Rajasthan Royals vs KXIP (2012)
Kevon Cooper had forged his reputation as a globetrotting medium-pace all-rounder who was tailor made for T20 cricket. The Windies man made his maiden IPL appearance for Rajasthan in the 2012 edition in the side’s home clash against Kings XI Punjab at Jaipur and put in a match-winning effort straight away.
With Rajasthan defending a total of 191, Cooper picked up 4-26 with the ball to trigger a top-order collapse for Punjab. His efforts saw the Royals ultimately go on to win the clash by 31 runs.
Shoaib Akhtar for KKR vs Delhi Daredevils (2008)
While Pakistan players might no longer feature in the competition, they were all the rage in the inaugural edition in 2008 with express pacer Shoaib Akhtar one of the headline acts.
The ‘Rawalpindi Express’ had a sensational debut for Kolkata Knight Riders in their clash against Delhi Daredevils (now Capitals) at Eden Gardens. Batting first, Kolkata could only muster 133-6 but they came roaring back with the ball and Akhtar wreaking havoc.
The Pakistan pacer dismissed Gautam Gambhir, AB de Villiers, Virender Sehwag and Manoj Tiwary inside the powerplay itself to set up a 23-run win for the hosts.
Andrew Tye for Gujarat Lions vs RPS (2017)
The Australia seamer finished as the Purple Cap holder in the 2018 edition with 24 wickets but it was in the previous year that he first announced himself in the competition.
Tye made his IPL debut in 2017 in a clash between the now defunct teams of Gujarat Lions and Rising Pune Super Giants. Playing for Gujarat, Tye bamboozled Pune with his variations and picked up a five-wicket haul in no time.
His figures of 5-17 which included the big wicket of Ben Stokes helped Gujarat restrict Pune to 171 and they had no trouble chasing down the target with seven wickets to spare.
Alzarri Joseph for Mumbai Indians vs SRH (2019)
The 22-year-old pacer would have found chances hard to come by if not for Lasith Malinga’s departure to Sri Lanka to take part in a domestic tournament. Joseph, though, made the most of his opportunity in Malinga’s absence to help Mumbai pull off a stunning win against a Sunrisers outfit who were in scary form.
With just a modest total of 136 to defend, Joseph made a fairytale start to his IPL career by dismissing the dangerous David Warner with his very first delivery. That was just the start of things to come with the pacer subsequently sending back Vijay Shankar and Deepak Hooda before running through the Hyderabad tail.
Joseph is the only bowler in IPL history to have picked up six wickets in his maiden outing. Only two other bowlers – Sohail Tanvir and Adam Zampa – have picked up six-wicket hauls in the IPL previously.
Traditional finger spinners, it was felt, didn’t have much to offer in T20 cricket. Batsmen could simply line up the trajectory of the ball and slog sweep or play through the line.
And for many years, it became the guiding principal for many teams as wrist spinners became the main slow bowlers in white ball cricket and plain old off-spinners and left-arm spinners started to get pushed to the sidelines.
But the ongoing edition of the IPL has witnessed a resurgence of the finger spinners with those type of bowlers not only picking up wickets but also maintaining a superb economy rate.
The slow nature of some wickets have contributed in some good numbers for spinners but credit must be given to finger spinners for keeping themselves relevant in the cut-throat world of T20 cricket.
Here were take a look at four such bowlers.
HARBHAJAN SINGH (CSK)
Matches: 3, Overs: 12, Wickets: 5, Economy: 5.5
The Chennai off-spinner has enjoyed the sluggish surface of Chepauk, getting good purchase off the surface to help the Super Kings make a strong start to the campaign. The off-spinner has bowled at the perfect pace which has stopped batsmen like Virat Kohli, AB de Villiers and Chris Gayle from going after him. Two man-of-the-match performances in three games, including a double wicket maiden against Kings XI Punjab.
MOHAMMAD NABI (SRH)
Matches: 3, Overs: 12, Wickets: 7, Economy: 3.75
The Sunrisers Hyderabad all-rounder has been so good he has kept a veteran like Shakib Al Hasan out of the Playing XI. His nagging off-spinners have accounted for seven wickets in three games, including a devastating 4-11 on a good Hyderabad pitch against RCB. The Afghan all-rounder has been used up front by Sunrisers, which makes his economy of 3.75 even more remarkable. Plus, has bowled twice on a decent batting surface in Hyderabad, which means he can be even more devastating on a truly helpful pitch.
RAVI ASHWIN (KXIP)
Matches: 5, Overs: 20, Wickets: 6, Economy: 7.3
The Kings XI Punjab skipper doesn’t have many fans outside India at the moment after his ‘Mankading’ of Rajasthan Royals batsman Jos Buttler, but his bowling deserves praise. The off-spinner was the first to talk about the relevance of finger spinners in the T20 game and has put in performances to back his claim. Had one bad game against Kolkata and has conceded less than 30 three times.
Matches: 5, Overs: 16, Wickets: 4, Economy: 5.9
The Chennai left-arm spinner is a favourite of captains in any limited overs format as his tight lines and rocket arm from the deep make him a highly valuable asset. This year, Jadeja has kept it quiet and has been crucial in skipper MS Dhoni’s spin-based attack.
The left-arm spinner has already found favour in the national team where he is deemed to be good enough in the squad just for his fielding. Bound to put in a crucial batting performance at some point.