Sunrisers have won everything this season – three tosses, three matches and all the crucial moments in the interim. Their style of attack is consistent with everything head coach Tom Moody has put in place since he took over: the bowlers continue to hold teams to under 150 and the batsmen, perfectly set up to chase that kind of a middling score, are delivering. In fact, in one instance, even Billy Stanlake delivered with bat. Their last game was a clinical brushing aside of Kolkata Knight Riders in what was their first win at Eden Gardens.
They have no such problems with their record in Mohali, where they’ve beaten Kings XI Punjab four times out of four. In fact, the home team itself has a rather average record there, winning only 24 out of 48 games. But they’ve won both games there this season and will be keen to finish off in style before shifting base to Indore.
It has been a bright start for R Ashwin as captain. They’ve found a way to fit in Chris Gayle – and he starred in a close win against Chennai Super Kings – the top order is as boisterous as they can be and they’ve used spin well to paper over a seam attack that hasn’t made its mark yet. A win against Sunrisers will put them level with them, and keep them close to the top of the table as a clear divide between teams starts to emerge ahead of the halfway mark.
The likely XIs
Kings XI Punjab: 1 KL Rahul (wk), 2 Chris Gayle, 3 Mayank Agarwal, 4 Yuvraj Singh, 5 Aaron Finch/Marcus Stoinis, 6 Karun Nair, 7 Axar Patel/Barinder Sran, 8 R Ashwin (capt), 9 Andrew Tye, 10 Mujeeb Ur Rahman, 11 Mohit Sharma
Sunrisers Hyderabad: 1 Wriddhiman Saha (wk), 2 Shikhar Dhawan, 3 Kane Williamson (capt), 4 Manish Pandey, 5 Deepak Hooda, 6 Yusuf Pathan, 7 Shakib Al Hasan 8 Rashid Khan, 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar 10 Billy Stanlake, 11 Siddarth Kaul
Kings XI could leave out Aaron Finch for this game. The Australian batsman has made first-ball ducks in both games he has played so far, and with an out-of-touch Yuvraj Singh in the middle already, they will want more heft there. Marcus Stoinis could come back to the squad, seeing as they were forced to use Yuvraj as the sixth bowling option in the match. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel is likely to come back into the XI to exploit the Sunrisers’ weakness against spin.
Stats that matter
Since the start of IPL 2015, Yuvraj has been dismissed 12 times by spinners in 28 innings and scores at a rate of 101.8 against them. Against pace, his strike-rate is 142.8
Shakib Al Hasan needs one wicket to complete 300 in all T20s. Only Shahid Afridi (300), Sunil Narine (324), Lasith Malinga (348) and Dwayne Bravo (414) have more wickets in the format
Manish Pandey has only managed 23 runs against Axar Patel off 39 balls faced in seven innings, with a strike rate of 59 and a dot-ball percentage of 51.3 in all T20s
In all T20s since the start of 2017, Rashid Khan has taken 99 wickets in 69 matches. In 30 of those matches, he has taken more than two wickets in a match, to go with his economy rate of 5.60 during that period
Shakib Al Hasan has quickly emerged as Sunrisers’ leader in the middle overs, whether they’re batting or bowling. And he is in form with both bat and ball – a definite value pick to get you points in both innings.