IPL 2019: A chance for Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad to bounce back from recent setbacks

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Gayle (r) will be itching to bounce back. Image - BCCI/SPORTZPICS.

Two teams who have endured similar 2019 Indian Premier League (IPL) campaigns so far will collide when Kings XI Punjab play host to Sunrisers Hyderabad at Mohali on Monday.

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

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.

LIKELY XIs

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.

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