Will Kings dent Sunrisers' chances at Mohali?
Sunrisers Hyderabad are hoping to pick up the pieces after the drubbing they received at the hands of Chennai Super Kings against Kings XI Punjab in Saturday's Premier League encounter, in Mohali.
On paper, the Hyderabad side are favourites, having won seven out of their 12 games, and are currently in the fifth spot, a notch above Kings XI, who have 10 points.
A win on Saturday will certainly strengthen the franchise's their bid to make it to the knock-out stage of the competition.
Kings XI have to win their remaining four games to survive in the competition, but Sunrisers also can't afford a slip-up after their 77-run defeat against title favourites Chennai Super Kings.
Sunrisers had an unbeaten run at home, clinching thrilling wins against formidable teams such as Mumbai Indians and Royals Challengers Bangalore, until CSK buried them under a mountain of runs the other night.The lethal bowling attack of Sunrisers, comprising the world's best fast bowler Dale Steyn, India international Ishant Sharma and portly leg-spinner Amit Mishra, who is one of the highest wicket-takers this IPL season, besides dependable Sri Lankan all-rounder Thisara Perera, will be looking to exploit the bouncy conditions of the Mohali track.
Image: Sunrisers Hyderabad players
Kings XI's inconsistency in batting their bane
However, in the match against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday, Punjab skipper Adam Gilchrist found the Mohali track "slow and dry" contrary to its nature.
Ishant Sharma will like to forget the thrashing he received at the hands of the Chennai batsmen.
Like Punjab, batting is a major area of concern for the Hyderabad side, though there's some improvement after injured Shikhar Dhawan and West Indies captain Darren Sammy joined the team.
Another major area of concern for the visitors is the form of their captain Kumar Sangakkara, who has failed get among the runs.
On the other hand, veteran Gilchrist, who dropped himself after being out-of-form, scored an useful 42 against Rajasthan Royals just the other day.The problem with Kings XI is their lack of consistency in the batting department, which Gilchirst acknowledges is a serious area of concern.
Image: Kings XI Punjab's Adam Gilchrist
'Our wins have been at the back of David Miller'
The batting, which comprises players like David Hussey, Shaun Marsh, Mandeep Singh and David Miller, has failed to click as a unit, and, barring couple of individual performances, let down the team on most occasions.
"Yeah, that is probably an appropriate criticism and frustration for us that we haven't flowed as a batting group and built any real momentum and couple of our wins out of five have been at the back of David Miller. I think that's criticism that isn't harsh in anyway, it's probably accurate," Gilchrist admitted.
However, Punjab's strength is their bowling attack, led by medium pacer Praveen Kumar, that also includes medium pacers Parvinder Awana, Manpreet Gony, leg-spinner Piyush Chawla and recent inclusion of left-arm spinner Bipul Sharma.
The home team, which plays its last IPL match of this season at Mohali on Saturday, will hope all the eleven players put up an all-round performance in the remaining games to give them some chance of qualifying for the knock outs.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kumar Sangakkara (C ), Cameron White, Akshat Reddy, Amit Mishra, Anand Rajan, Ankit Sharma, Ashish Reddy, Biplab Samantray, Cameron White, Chris Lynn, Dale Steyn, Darren Sammy, D B Ravi Teja, G H Vihari, Ishant Sharma, Karan Sharma, Nathan McCullum, Pathiv Patel, Prasant Padmanabhan, Quinton de Cock, Sachin Rana, Shikhar Dhawan, Sudeep Tyagi, T Sargunam, Thisara Perera and Veer Pratap Singh.
Kings XI Punjab: Adam Gilchrist (c), Mandeep Singh, Luke Pomersbach, David Miller, Manan Vohra, David Hussey, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Harmeet Singh, Bhargav Bhatt, Parvinder Awana, Azhar Mahmood, Bipul Sharma, Siddharth Chitnis, Aniket Choudhary, Manpreet Gony, Gurkeerat Singh Mann, Shaun Marsh, Dimitri Mascernhas, Nitin Saini, Sandeep Sharma, Rajagopal Sathish, Sunny Singh, Paul Valthaty.
Image: David Miller