Sunrisers Hyderabad will take on Kings XI Punjab in match number 48 of the Indian Premier League season 8 at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad on Monday. Sunrisers will certainly be favourites to win the match considering their impressive run of form recently. They have been the giant killers in this event, slaying Chennai, Rajasthan and Kolkata to force their way into the top four. They go into the match on a winning note as well, having easily beaten Delhi Daredevils. Punjab, on the other hand, have been the worst team in the tournament, with just two wins so far. They went down to Kolkata Knight Riders in their last match, losing a close encounter.
Match: Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad, 48th T20 at Hyderabad
Time: Match begins at 8 PM IST | 14:30 GMT
What has been encouraging for Sunrisers in the last few matches is the fact that they seem to have overcome their overdependence on David Warner and, to an extent, Shikhar Dhawan. In Sunrisers' last match, it was all-rounder Moises Henriques, who was the hero with a blazing 74. In the game before Eoin Morgan also shone with a brilliant innings. With these two foreign imports firing, Sunrisers' middle-order seems a lot more secure. The likes of Naman Ojha have also begun to make decent contributions, and in Ravi Bopara, they have an experienced campaigner as well.
When the batting wasn't firing entirely, it was the bowling that pulled the team out of a hole more than once. And now, that they have begun to do well as a batting outfit, the team looks even stronger. Trent Boult has been the standout performer for Sunrisers whenever they have played. And, even though Dale Steyn hasn't always performed to potential when he has been chosen, having him in the squad in an asset nonetheless. But, the two bowlers who have really shored up the side have been the Kumars -- Bhuvneshwar and Praveen. There have been a few occasions when Sunrisers have found themselves in trouble, but they have been bailed out by the duo.
Punjab, on the other hand, have been completely off boil this season. If you take away the performance against Rajasthan Royals, a match they won in the Super Over, and one another win, they really have nothing to show for their efforts. In their last match against Kolkata, their famed batting again let them down. Glenn Maxwell finally got some runs, but it wasn't enough. At the top, Murali Vijay has been a big disappointment, getting starts, but not carrying on. David Miller also hasn't been as consistent, and skipper George Bailey's form too has gone for a toss. As a batting outfit, they have been a complete failure.
Punjab's bowling has also been disappointing. They were heavily dependent on Mitchell Johnson, but he has been way off the mark. Sandeep Sharma has kept things tight for most part, and has been rewarded with wickets as well, but Anureet Singh was exposed in the match against Kolkata. Spin has been a letdown too, with Axar Patel going for plenty. Punjab's bowlers seem hapless in the face of an assault.
--By A Cricket Analyst