Kings XI Punjab captain Adam Gilchrist returns to the familiar terrain of the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad, which was his first ‘home’ ground as captain of the then Deccan Chargers.
But now he will be up against the new franchise, Sunrisers Hyderabad, which is on a high after its magnificent win over Pune Warriors India on Wednesday night.
SRH is placed third with eight points from six games while KXIP is currently fifth with four points from four games.
Batting continues to be a worry for SRH as Cameron White and Kumar Sangakkara are struggling for consistency. Even the domestic pool of players has not hit the desired form. It has been a bits-and-pieces showing till now. It is not easy to always keep winning on bowling alone as the bowlers need decent totals to defend.
The Sammy conundrum
West Indies captain Darren Sammy joining SRH might pose a selection problem as a team can field only four foreign players. Who among the five — Sangakarra, White, Sammy, Thisara Perera and Dale Steyn — that is the big question.
But SRH has depth and variety in its bowling. The pace duo of Steyn and Ishant Sharma can be miserly. Then there is the in-form leg-spinner Amit Mishra. Fresh from his third hat-trick in the IPL, he is ready to have another go in front of the home crowd.
The 41-year-old Gilchrist taking on the fastest bowler in contemporary cricket (Steyn) should be an interesting sight. Despite his woeful run so far, if ‘Gilly’ still manages to play a cameo, it should be a huge bonus for KXIP.
A lot also depends on another Aussie, the big-hitting David Hussey, and the all-round ability of Azhar Mahmood.
Overall it has been a pretty dismal batting show from Kings XI. The visitors will look for some stand-out performances from the likes of Manpreet Grewal again.