On a four-match winning streak, Kings XI Punjab would be eager to make it five on the trot when they head to Hyderabad tomorrow night in sublime form. Hyderabad are trying to get back to their winning ways after two losses halted their momentum. A win against Mumbai thanks to three bowling inclusions who all proved to be positive reinforcements might have given them that confidence to impact matches in the bowling department on a more regular basis.
The Delhi Daredevils were extremely-fortunate that Chris Gayle did not feature in Monday’s matchup due to ‘soreness’, he’s been an unstoppable force with the bat in IPL 11 and has influenced all three contests he’s been involved in. Despite the absence of the big-hitting West Indian, Kings XI still managed to creep over the line winning by just four runs. On the flip side, unfortunately for Hyderabad Gayle is almost a 90% chance to make his return to the XI in this game, furthermore testing the Sunrisers bowling unit after a terrific performance against the Mumbai Indians on Tuesday night. Pushing the Gayle topic aside for a moment, Hyderabad’s batting line-up doesn’t look to be in the best of shape with just two individuals stringing together some solid performances in the past two matches, however their bowling unit stood tall after a pretty-poor batting display which was refreshing to say the least. Bowling performances like that don’t come around very often though, especially against top sides like Punjab who can be a nightmare to contain at the best of times. That’s why a particular handful of players need to start showing why they’re in the team, they need a lot more out of Manish Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan and even Wriddhiman Saha, at the moment it’s all up to Shikhar Dhawan and Kane Williamson at the top of the order while Yusuf Pathan is heavily relied upon to finish off an innings with his aggressive stroke play down the order. The Sunrisers skipper is still averaging a tick above fifty in IPL 11, but even Williamson needs some sort of assistance to dish up an overall competitive total. Indian seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar was a huge out before the game, but thankfully he wasn’t required as the entire bowling unit had a game to remember rattling Mumbai for just 87 runs. It was a relief for Sunrisers fans to see Rashid Khan back to his best as the spinning-maestro claimed 2/11 while Siddarth Kaul led the attack with 3/23. It wouldn’t be a bad thing to rest Bhuvi for another game, simply because both Sandeep Sharma and Basil Thampi offered themselves as excellent replacements for the star-Hyderabad medium pacer giving very-little away on Monday night.
Punjab will be desperate to slot superstar-opening batsman Chris Gayle back into their XI as they travel to Hyderabad for a Thursday night shootout against the third-placed Sunrisers. It’s been mentioned many times before, but the current form of middle order batsman Karun Nair must be held in the highest-regard possible given some of his fellow teammate’s spiralling-form with the willow. Nair has scored 173 runs from his five matches and is often left to pick up the scraps of Aaron Finch and Yuvraj Singh who have really struggled to work their way into the tournament. That’s why a player like Nair who’s averaging 34.60 in Punjab’s middle order should not go unnoticed, he’s part of the reason why Kings XI Punjab are outplaying their opposition in IPL 11 so far. It was the right move to bring back South African six-hitting machine David Miller who was initially dropped for Aaron Finch who looks like a fish out of water at the moment, Miller however has shown promising signs in his two matches for Kings XI scoring 24* & 26 respectively. He’s extremely damaging towards those middle overs of the innings in particular, it’s worth mentioning that Miller has been a long-time servant of this club in the IPL, seven seasons in fact. With Gayle expected to return with a 200+ average from his three matches and the prolific-local talent of KL Rahul pairing up with him at the top, this teams batting line-up would have a handful of bowlers sweating bullets as they prepare to get dispatched, some more than others. Great scenes in Delhi where Kings XI medium pacer Ankit Rajpoot picked up two Daredevils top order wickets in a confidence-boosting performance for him finishing with 2/23, and Barinder Sran was once-again expensive but fortunately didn’t cost them the win. The consistency of Aussie seamer Andrew Tye has been extremely rewarding for Punjab, their faith in him as a strike bowler has paid off drastically producing 9 wickets from his six outings. If Gayle returns, you’d almost bet your house on the Kings XI to win this one…although I wouldn’t recommend it!
Top 5 fantasy picks | Sunrisers Hyderabad | 25th match | Hyderabad
- Kane Williamson
- Rashid Khan
- Shikhar Dhawan
- Siddarth Kaul
- Yusuf Pathan
Wildcard pick – Alex Hales
Top 5 fantasy picks | Kings XI Punjab | 25th match | Hyderabad
- KL Rahul
- Karun Nair
- Andrew Tye
- Chris Gayle
- Ravi Ashwin
Wildcard pick – Mayank Agarwal
It’s been reported that Sunrisers paceman Bhuvneshwar Kumar has been suffering from a niggling-back injury, he was advised to rest against the Mumbai Indians. He’s every chance to return against Punjab at home provided that he passes a fitness test before the game. English opener Alex Hales must be inching towards an IPL debut for Hyderabad, they’re clearly lacking a specialist opening batsman to pair up with Dhawan at the top and could pull the plug on the Saha experiment and slide him back down the order.
Kings XI Punjab
The big news surrounding Chris Gayle’s latest injury is that it isn’t actually that bad, Ravi Ashwin mentioning that the 38-year-old was just a bit sore….probably from all that relentless non-stop boundary hitting! With that being said, Gayle is a likely inclusion traveling to Hyderabad and should regain his position at the top of the order for Kings XI. Australia’s Aaron Finch will most-likely drop out of the XI having scored just 16 runs in five matches, talk about a man out of form. All-rounder Axar Patel would be getting close to fully-recovering from a hand injury, if he’s deemed fit Yuvraj Singh could be on the outer given his mediocre start to IPL 11, averaging just 12.50 with the bat. Medium pacer Mohit Sharma also looms as a possible inclusion after Barinder Sran’s past two costly outings with the ball.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (possible) – 1. Shikhar Dhawan 2. Alex Hales 3. Kane Williamson © 4. Manish Pandey 5. Yusuf Pathan 6. Shakib Al Hasan/Mohammad Nabi 7. Wriddhiman Saha (wk) 8. Rashid Khan 9. Basil Thampi 10. Bhuvneshwar Kumar/Sandeep Sharma 11. Siddarth Kaul.
Kings XI Punjab (possible) – 1. KL Rahul (wk) 2. Chris Gayle 3. Mayank Agarwal 4. Karun Nair 5. David Miller 6. Yuvraj Singh/Axar Patel 7. Ravi Ashwin © 8. Andrew Tye 9. Barinder Sran/Mohit Sharma 10. Ankit Rajpoot 11. Mujeeb Ur Rahman.
Zak Varik is an Australian columnist/writer who specializes in the sports category cricket. With over four years of experience covering all sorts of cricket tournaments around the world, Zak has gained extensive knowledge in International cricket as well as domestic.
“I’ve loved watching cricket since I was about 7 years old, my childhood hero was none other than Andrew “Roy” Symonds who probably enhanced my love of the game through the years”.
Zak is now an established writer for FCN (Fantasy Cricket News) and has also previously represented other Blogs during his time as a writer.