A rejuvenated Kings XI Punjab will take on a spirited Sunrisers Hyderabad in an Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 encounter in Dubai on Saturday. Punjab is sixth on the points table with four wins out of 10 games, and its performances so far have come down to its top-order firing, and its fast bowlers’ ability to adapt quickly to conditions that aren’t tailor-made for them.
The inclusion of Chris Gayle has resulted in greater batting assurance and firepower, evident from the freedom with which skipper K. L. Rahul has played so far. Glenn Maxwell too gave glimpses of a return to form in the last match against Delhi Capitals, where his 69-run partnership with Nicholas Pooran for the fourth wicket, paved the way for Kings XI’s third consecutive victory. His 24-ball 32 was the perfect foil to Pooran’s match-winning 28-ball 53.
SHANKAR COMES GOOD
Hyderabad, on the other hand, has blown hot and cold at times this season, but on days it has come good, it has dominated in all three departments. Like in the eight-wicket win against Rajasthan Royals on Thursday, when Hyderabad rode on Manish Pandey’s unbeaten 47-ball 83 and Vijay Shankar’s 52 off 51 deliveries to keep its playoffs hopes alive.
The win – Hyderabad’s first in five attempts while chasing in IPL 2020 – lifted it to the fifth spot on the points table on better Net Run Rate (+0.092). The think tank will be pleased with Shankar’s all-round contributions; his figures of 1 for 15 from three overs complemented Jason Holder’s (3 for 33) – debuting for Hyderabad – first three-wicket haul in T20s since 2015. Hyderabad, however, will hope for the aggressive opening pair of David Warner and Jonny Bairstow to fire as it looks to continue its surge towards the last four stage.
Chris Gayle: The Jamaican, back after warming the bench for the first half of the season, has hit 106 runs in three matches at a strike-rate of 134.17 and seems to have shared Mayank Agarwal and Rahul’s power-hitting mantle.
Vijay Shankar: Shankar had laboured to 10 off 18 against Rajasthan the other night before opening up and scoring 42 off the next 33. His ability to hold an end up and build pressure by drying up the runs allows other bowlers to attack.
Kings XI Punjab Squad: Lokesh Rahul, Harpreet Brar, Ishan Porel, Mandeep Singh, James Neesham, Tajinder Singh, Chris Jordan, Karun Nair, Deepak Hooda, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh, Glenn Maxwell, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Sarfaraz Khan, Sheldon Cottrell, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami, Darshan Nalkande, Nicholas Pooran, Chris Gayle, Murugan Ashwin, Jagadeesha Suchith, Krishnappa Gowtham, Hardus Viljoen, Simran Singh.
Sunrisers Hyderabad Squad: Kane Williamson, David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Manish Pandey, Mohammad Nabi, Priyam Garg, Vijay Shankar, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Virat Singh, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Basil Thampi, Abhishek Sharma, Billy Stanlake, Sandeep Sharma, Shahbaz Nadeem, Shreevats Goswami, Siddarth Kaul, K Khaleel Ahmed, T Natarajan, Mitchell Marsh, Bavanaka Sandeep, Fabian Allen, Abdul Samad, Sanjay Yadav, Rashid Khan.
Game: KXIP vs SRH, 43rd Match
Date: Saturday, October 24
Time: 7:30 PM
Venue: Dubai International Cricket Stadium, Dubai