David Warner, with 611 runs from 11 games, has been a leading light for Sunrisers Hyderabad in this edition of the IPL. And with the flamboyant opener set to play his final game this season for the Sunrisers before joining the Australian team as it prepares for the forthcoming World Cup, the home side will be keen that he scripts a winning moment when the R. Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab comes visiting on Monday night.
The equation is pretty simple for the teams — both have 10 points each from 11 games — they need to win all their remaining three matches to make the playoffs.
Sunrisers’ captain Kane Williamson says that it will be great to play in front of the home crowd. But, with its confidence dented after the loss to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, Sunrisers may not find it easy against a team which can surprise the best on its day.
The game may prove to be a treat for fans if Warner at the top for Sunrisers and Chris Gayle (10 matches, 444 runs), the ‘Universal Boss’ for Kings XI Punjab, both get going.
The welcome return to form of Manish Pandey notwithstanding, Sunrisers’ middle-order continues to be brittle. It poses a serious challenge in either setting a target or chasing down a big score if the top three — Warner, Williamson and Manish — fail.
In bowling, leggie Rashid Khan seems to be the only bowler who looks like taking wickets. But to the Sunriser camp’s dismay opponents are playing it safe against him and targeting the rest, who have been inconsistent to say the least.
For Kings XI, its street-smart captain Ashwin should have a few tricks up his sleeve. Punjab has a line-up with potential match-winners like opener K.L. Rahul, David Miller, Sam Curran and Mayank Agarwal in batting and very experienced bowling attack headed by Mohd Shami in pace and Ashwin in spin.
This is Sunrisers’ last home game before flying to Mumbai and Bengaluru for the final two engagements. Kings XI meanwhile will be at home to Kolkata Knight Riders and Chennai Super Kings to round off its league campaign.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), Basil Thampi, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Deepak Hooda, Manish Pandey, T Natarajan, Ricky Bhui, Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul, Shreevats Goswami, Khaleel Ahmed, Yusuf Pathan, Billy Stanlake, David Warner, Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Shakib Al Hasan, Wriddhiman Saha, Martin Guptill, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem.
Kings XI Punjab: Lokesh Rahul, Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, Ravichandran Ashwin (C), Andrew Tye, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Mujeeb Ur Rehman, Karun Nair, Moises Henriques, Varun Chakravarthi, Harpreet Brar, Simran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (WK), Hardus Viljoen, Ankit Rajpoot, Arshdeep Singh, Darshan Nalkande, Agnivesh Ayachi.
Match starts at 8pm.