Yuvraj Singh is a Punjab cricket stalwart, and the handshakes keep coming as he walks around the PCA Stadium with a confident air. However, Yuvraj Singh will sit in the visitors’ dressing room on Friday when defending champions Sunrisers Hyderabad face Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League.
As much as they love their ‘son’, IPL loyalties will kick in and almost all the 35,000-odd Kings XI Punjab supporters would be goading their team to inflict defeat on Sunrisers Hyderabad.
SRH have proven match-winners in skipper David Warner, Shikhar Dhawan, Kane Williamson and all-rounder Moises Henriques. And Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ashish Nehra and Rashid Khan have been among the best bowlers in IPL 2017.
Sunrisers clear favourites
However, Sunrisers Hyderabad are better-placed and all they need is more consistency from the top order. On the other hand, Kings XI Punjab need to raise their game. They started well only to dip and each loss will only take them away from a spot in the playoffs.
Inability to find the right combination has hurt Kings XI Punjab. And adding West Indies all-rounder Darren Sammy, who has joined the squad in Mohali, may help. He could replace Aussie import Marcus Stoinis, who has not fired with bat or ball.
Having returned from Indore, their second home, Kings XI Punjab will hope to gain advantage from playing their next two matches at their base. They play Delhi Daredevils after the Sunrisers Hyderabad game.
Amla in fine form
Kings XI Punjab beat Gujarat Lions by 26 runs in the last outing at Rajkot due to fine performances by Hashim Amla (65) and Axar Patel, who made a 17-ball 34. Punjab opener Manan Vohra has done well while Shaun Marsh, who has played just two matches, will relish playing in Mohali as he has done the bulk of his scoring at the ground for Kings XI Punjab since the first IPL season.
However, they are vulnerable in the bowling department. Kings XI Punjab scored 198 against Mumbai Indians in Indore with Hashim Amla scoring a terrific hundred and skipper Glenn Maxwell hitting big shots, but the former champions took apart the Kings XI Punjab bowlers to achieve the target in 15.3 overs.
Sunrisers’ bowling strength
In the previous match played between the two sides, Sunrisers Hyderabad beat Kings XI Punjab in a close finish owing to outstanding bowling by its pacers Bhuvneshwar, Barinder Sran and Siddarth Kaul.
“We have to click as a unit and deliver the goods in the bowling as well as in the batting department,” said Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
“It was unfortunate that rain spoiled the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore and it had to be abandoned. We have done well in the previous matches, barring the game against Pune Supergiant. Dhoni bhai snatched that game from us. We are backing our skills against Kings XI Punjab and hoping to record a win.”