As the two weary teams arrived here on Sunday after suffering frustrating losses in their games on Saturday, R. Ashwin and Bhuvneshwar Kumar will hope for a change in fortunes when Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad face-off on Monday.
For Ashwin and Punjab, it would be a welcome return to familiar surroundings, a homecoming to what has been a well-defended fortress. The host has won both games played here this season — one each with the bat and ball — and would be keen to put the disappointment of defeat to Super Kings, chasing a below-par target, behind.
K.L. Rahul and Sarfaraz Khan got the runs but failed to step up the momentum and finish off the game. That they could not do so despite wickets in hand and wayward CSK bowling towards the end would rankle even more.
On the other hand, the Punjab bowling managed to impress again, especially the spin duo of Ashwin and (Murugan) Ashwin in the middle overs, restricting the scoring. They would be expected to do it again against Sunrisers, whose middle-order was tested for the first time on Saturday against Mumbai Indians and came up short.
It was a rare failure from the David Warner-Jonny Bairstow combination at the top although, to be fair, the Sunrisers batsmen were up against a scintillating 22-year-old fast bowler answering to the name of Alzarri Joseph who rewrote IPL bowling records on debut.
But the fact that the batsmen faltered the first time they were called on to perform, along with the continued uncertainty over Kane Williamson’s availability, would be a concern for former champions Sunrisers.
Bhuvneshwar would also be hoping more from his strike bowlers — Mohd. Siraj and Siddharth Kaul have been profligate and inconsistent — while teams have been smartly cautious against the Afghan spin pair of Rashid Khan and Mohd. Nabi, preferring to play them out before attacking.
A win would help either hop into joint top spot with CSK, and that should be incentive enough for the sides.
Match starts at 8 pm.