Kings XI Punjab would like to return to its dominant winning ways after the loss against KKR
If the Indian Premier League is mostly about expecting the unexpected, Sunrisers Hyderabad will strive to spring a surprise on front-runner Kings XI Punjab at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Wednesday. To tip over a team that has been table-topper for a while may be a tall order for the host but not an impossible one.
If batting drives white-ball cricket, the authority with which the Kings won their matches was always unnerving to its rivals. When Glenn Maxwell or David Miller didn’t come good with the willow, Virender Sehwag or Wridhiman Saha stepped up to the plate. Twice has the side surpassed a 200+ total, once when batting first and only twice has its tally dropped below 150.
In contrast, batting by the Sunrisers has taken time to come into its own. From the powerhouse it was initially projected to be, the squad turned paper tiger for a while and then began to fulfil its potential largely through the Australian duo of David Warner and Aaron Finch. So much so, that it can match the Punjab’s prowess in piling up the runs.
“I think the Sunrisers have a very strong side. I do not think they have an obvious weakness. They have a strong batting line-up and have one of the best bowling attacks in the tournament. It is going to be a tough contest against them,” said Kings XI captain George Bailey when asked if they’d dominate or the contest would be a one-sided one.
“I guess anytime you lose, it is a good refresher that any team can beat any team. It is a good reminder that no matter how well you are playing or how well you think you are playing that on any given day you need to turn up and play your best,” he said of the loss to KKR.
Dwelling on that defeat, he said, “We lost too many wickets in the middle. When we tried to launch at the end we were five or six down when we would rather have been two or three down. Regardless of a win or loss, we are always trying to get better.”
The Punjab skipper drew strength from Sehwag striking form. “Sehwag has been in really good touch in most of the tournament. He has got a lot of starts and I know he has been wanting to go and get that big score. He was outstanding the other day.
“It is great for us and the team to see the confidence that he gives us when he is batting that way. And I know it must be terrifying for the opposition bowlers when he is in good touch.”
It didn’t take long to turn to his two trump cards. “Every team is different. For us we feel the more deliveries we make Maxwell and Miller play, the more time they can take to build their innings, which is the best chance for us to get a big score. Some teams like to keep their big hitters for the finish and that works as well at times.”
Sunrisers did not practise on Tuesday.