Almost out of reckoning for a place in the play-offs, bottom-placed Sunrisers Hyderabad will look to play party-poopers when they take on an equally struggling Punjab Kings in the battle of laggards in the IPL in Sharjah on Saturday.
Sunrisers suffered their seventh defeat on Wednesday after being blown away by Delhi Capitals and their play-off chances look less than dim as they have managed just two points after eight games.
Punjab, on the other hand, quite inexplicably found a way to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory against Rajasthan Royals and will be desperate to find an answer to their problems after being placed seventh with six points from nine matches.
Punjab were well-placed to win their first IPL game of the UAE leg before committing harakari in the last over bowled by Rajasthan's young pacer Kartik Tyagi. With four runs needed from the last over, and eight wickets in hand, Punjab choked at the end as they scored just one runs and lost two wickets in the process.
Despite being packed with excellent Indian and foreign talent, Punjab Kings have regularly messed up games and skipper KL Rahul will have to address their inconsistency.
Punjab Kings have also lacked any kind of stability over the last 14 seasons with captains and coaches being changed frequently.
Their playing XI too has gone through many changes, something which has drawn sharp criticism from former team mentor Virender Sehwag.
In the batting, Rahul and Mayank Agarwal have been one of the most dominant opening duo of the IPL. In the last game too, they put on 120 runs in 11.5 overs but none of them could stay back to finish the job.
While Chris Gayle can destroy any attack even at the age of 42, he was kept out in the last game.
In the middle-order, Nicholas Pooran, who had a horrendous outing in the first phase, looked good in the last game before he lost his bearings in the final over even as Aiden Markram was left stranded on the other side.
In the bowling department, Mohammed Shami has been their prime bowler and he did well to pull things back against Rajasthan.
Young Arshdeep Singh also returned with five wickets as he and Shami restricted Royals to 185, when they looked set for a much-bigger total at one stage.
However, Punjab's spinners, especially England's Adil Rashid, have disappointed and they will need to step up their game in the next few weeks.
For Sunrisers, it is all about enjoying the remaining few games and ending on a high.
With Johnny Bairstow, their season's leading run-getter, pulling out and Australian opener David Warner falling early, Sunrisers found the going tough against Delhi.
The likes of Kane Williamson, Manish Pandey, Wriddhiman Saha, Kedar Jadhav, Abdul Samad also failed to capitalise on their starts as Sunrisers could manage just 134 in their last game.
Their bowling has been too dependent on spin sensation Rashid Khan and it will be important for the likes of Khaleel Ahmed, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Jason Holder to put up a strong show to give some respectability to the team's campaign.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (captain), Mayank Agarwal, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Shahrukh Khan, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Ellis, Adil Rashid, Murugan Ashwin, Harpreet Brar, Moises Henriques, Chris Jordan, Aiden Markram, Mandeep Singh, Darsan Nalkande, Prabhsimran Singh, Ravi BIshnoi, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar, Jalaj Saxena.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), David Warner, Manish Pandey, Sherfane Rutherford, Wriddhiman Saha, Shreevats Goswami, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Abhishek Sharma, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Siddharth Kaul, Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Basil Thampi, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Abdul Samad, J Suchith, Jason Holder, Virat Singh, Priyam Garg, Kedar Jadhav, Mujeeb-ur-Rahman, Jason Roy.
March starts at 7.30pm IST.