All-time meetings: Sunrisers Hyderabad W8, Kings XI Punjab W4 Last meeting: Kings XI Punjab beat Sunrisers Hyderabad by 6 wickets
THE TEAM NEWS
Coach: Tom Moody
Captain: Kane Williamson
Sunrisers Hyderabad have lost their last two matches and they run the risk of dropping out of the top four as they face Kings XI Punjab here who are sitting just behind them due to a worse net run rate in what is a crunch clash here.
They come off a poor loss against Rajasthan Royals who held them to a modest score and then the Sunrisers’ bowling unit could not hold them so there are plenty of areas for improvement for them coming into this game and they desperately need to improve quickly.
Mohammad Nabi will surely come into the side and there could be other changes with the batting order struggling even more so now without Jonny Bairstow and they have to decide whether they stick with skipper Kane Williamson at the top of the order.
KINGS XI PUNJAB
Coach: Mike Hesson
Captain: Ravi Ashwin
Desperate times for Kings XI Punjab as they sit just outside the top four places having lost their last two games and they are running the risk of dropping out of contention just as they did last year after making a similarly good start to the campaign.
They have not beaten the Sunrisers in their last four matches in Hyderabad which does not bode well, and they have a similar reliance on Gayle and KL Rahul at the top of the order like the Sunrisers have had with Warner and Bairstow, so they will be desperately hoping one or both of them can fire here.
Hardus Viljoen played the last match against Royal Challenges Bangalore but they could well rotate him back out of the side and bring somebody like Sam Curran or possibly Andrew Tye into the side, although the Englishman will likely get the nod due to his batting prowess.
There is little to choose between these two teams right now as they both have similar issues with team selection and their over-reliance on their openers, while they have both lost their last two matches. Sunrisers have a strong home record against Kings XI which will give them a boost coming into this one, but their form is uninspiring. Kings XI have the edge in terms of their batting with a strong top five and that could well be the key here. Too many of the Sunrisers’ batsmen are struggling, and although they may have marginally the better bowling attack, the strength and consistency of Kings XI’s batting order may just swing it in their favour.