IPL 2013 Preview: Kings XI Punjab seek top four spot with win against Sunrisers Hyderabad

Kings XI Punjab (above) are high on confidence after their victory over defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders © PTI

By Prakash Govindasreenivasan

Hyderabad: Apr 18, 2013

The Kings XI Punjab, led by Adam Gilchrist, travel to Hyderabad to take on the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the 25th match of the Indian Premier League 2013.

Gilchrist will have fond memories of Hyderabad, having led the previous franchise, Deccan Chargers for three seasons before plying his trade with the Punjab outfit. During his tenure as skipper of the Deccan Chargers, Gilchrist famously led them to the IPL title in the 2009 edition. However, he will now have to marshal his troops in order to overcome the Hyderabad team and take his side into the top four in the points table. As for Cameron White, his captaincy has started with a win over the Pune Warriors India and he would hope to build on that and earn two more points against Punjab on Friday.

Sunrisers are third on the points table but frailties in their batting are evident. Hyderabad bowlers bailed them out yet again when they played Pune Warriors India in Pune. For the Sunrisers to remain in the top four consistently, they desperately need to find the right combination in the batting order. The bowling unit has the firepower to wage a lone battle but as the tournament heads into the business end, the pressure will start to mount.

Punjab suffered two heavy losses at the hands of Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals but will come into the game at the back of a victory over the defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders. They will be high on confidence ahead of their tie in Hyderabad. The Sunrisers Hyderabad are having an interesting season in this year’s IPL. They achieved a double over the Pune Warriors India by defending low totals twice to take the third place in the points table. Their batting is probably the worse in the season so far but they will be satisfied by the efforts of the bowling department.

Gilchrist’s form with the bat continues to be worrisome but he looks very good behind the stumps. With the Australian not in good nick, the onus of performance is on the youngsters like Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra and Gurkeerat Singh Mann to chip in with useful performances. David Hussey and Azhar Mahmood have to take up the batting responsibility.

In the bowling department, Praveen Kumar, Piyush Chawla and Azhar Mahmood have formed a lethal combination and will look to attack the Hyderabad batsmen from the outset on Friday. Punjab’s match winner from previous game Manpreet Gony will also be crucial.

Cameron White may not have scored too many runs in the previous game but he was bang on with his moves as a captain that saw his side stun the Pune Warriors India by defending a low total of 119. South Africa’s Quinton de Kock, who made his IPL debut against Pune will hope to get some runs under his belt when he comes up against the Kings XI Punjab. Opener Parthiv Patel too is yet to shrug off his poor form and score some valuable runs at the top. The responsibility of scoring big continues to lie on the likes of White and Thisara Perera. Sunrisers boast one of the best bowling line-ups of the tournament with Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra. While Steyn continues to be the lynchpin of the bowling attack, Ishant has done well to complement him. Mishra, who picked up his third IPL hat-trick against Pune Warriors, has been a wily customer and will be handy on the Hyderabad track.

Both teams are coming into the tie with a victory in their previous game and will be looking to keep that going. At the moment, the home side seem to have an edge over the visitors as far as the momentum is concerned. But, a Gilchrist special, which is long due, could change the equations completely

Teams:

Sunrisers Hyderabad (Probable): Quinton de Kock, Parthiv Patel (wk), Hanuma Vihari, Cameron White (c), Biplab Samantray, Karan Sharma, Thisara Perera, Amit Mishra, Ashish Reddy, Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma

Kings XI Punjab (Probable): Adam Gilchrist (c & wk), Mandeep Singh, Manan Vohra, David Hussey, David Miller, Azhar Mahmood, Gurkeerat Singh, Manpreet Gony, Piyush Chawla, Praveen Kumar, Parwinder Awana

Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT

(Prakash Govindasreenivasan is an Editorial consultant at CricketCountry and a sports fanatic, with a soft corner for cricket. After studying journalism for two years, came the first big high in his professional life – the opportunity to interview his hero Adam Gilchrist and talking about his magnificent 149 in the 2007 World Cup final. While not following cricket, he is busy rooting for Chelsea FC)