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IPL 2018: It’s a battle of Sunrisers Hyderabad bowling vs Kings XI Punjab batting

While the Ravichandran Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) have relied heavily on their batsmen in the three Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 matches they have played, Kane Williamson’s Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have succeeded due to their bowling unit, backed by their consistent batting

cricket Updated: Apr 18, 2018 19:33 IST
Shalini Gupta
Shalini Gupta
Hindustan Times, Mohali
IPL 2018,Sunrisers Hyderabad,Kings XI Punjab
Kings XI Punjab’s Chris Gayle would be expected to fire against Sunrisers Hyderabad in their Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 clash.(PTI)

Chris Gayle is the player to watch out for. He has turned out just once for Kings XI Punjab so far but his initiation has done enough to spread terror among opponents. Needless to say, the spotlight will once again be on the beefy Jamaican when they face table toppers Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2018 on Thursday.

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While the Ravichandran Ashwin-led KXIP have relied heavily on their batsmen in the three matches they have played so far, Kane Williamson’s SRH have succeeded due to their bowling unit, backed by their consistent batting. In a way, SRH have looked the most balanced team thus far, so much so that they don’t feel hampered by David Warner’s absence.

This will be a battle between KXIP’s exciting batting and SRH’s penetrative bowling. Not just Gayle, it’s the KXIP opener KL Rahul who’s looked in red-hot form, blazing his way to swift starts and if Karun Nair, Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh come good, the home team can look to dominate any attack.

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The 26-year-old Rahul scored the fastest half-century in IPL’s history, with a 14-ball 50 against Delhi Daredevils and has been playing his shots with gay abandon. He was also involved in an opening-wicket partnership of 96 runs with Gayle against Chennai Super Kings that set up KXIP’s win. While Yuvraj has struggled initially, he showed glimpses of his past in the previous match and while he lacks in a bit of confidence, the team management has been backing him to come good. It may actually be a matter of time before he does so.

KXIP have been led remarkably by Ashwin. Even while in their defeat to Bangalore, Ashwin kept fighting and along with the 17-year old Afghan spinner Mujeeb ur Rehman, KXIP will go for wickets in their eight overs. They would need the other bowlers to chip in because SRH too bat deep.

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With Shikhar Dhawan, Wridhiman Saha, Williamson, Manish Pandey and Yusuf Pathan in their rank, SRH have the batting to shift gears and on a pitch like the PCA Stadium, runs will flow.

The balance of the game hangs heavily on SRH bowlers. If Bhuvneshwar can pick a couple with the new ball, they have match-winning spinners like Rashid Khan and Sakib Al Hasan to fall back upon. By adding Siddharth Kaul and Billy Stanlake, SRH have a set of five bowlers who the captain can rely on to pick wickets against any side.

First Published: Apr 18, 2018 19:30 IST