Two teams at the bottom half of the IPL standings, Sunrisers Hyderabad(SH) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) are set to go head to head against one another at Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali on Monday. Both the teams enjoy an identical record with two wins from six matches.
The KXIP looked a terrific team last season, hence there were huge hopes from the team, but they have been a huge disappointment so far as they languish in the last position of the IPL standings. But all is not lost for KXIP, as some wins on a trot could help them climb up the table and pose a serious threat in the remainder of the competition.
They have some big names in world cricket, such as Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey and David Miller, but they have not been consistent. SH also comprise big names such as Dale Steyn, Trent Boult, David Warner and Virender Sehwag.
If these star players play to their potential, an intriguing clash awaits at Punjab.
Here is a look at two key players from each side, who could prove to be a match winner.
David Warner – The SH skipper is one of the most dangerous batsmen in world cricket when it comes to the shortest format of the game and is a natural match-winner. The Australian has been consistent for the SH with 259 runs at a healthy strike rate of 156. Opening the innings, the batsman is known for giving flying starts to his team and provide a platform for their middle order to put up a huge score. With KXIP depending on seamers such as Sandeep Sharma, Anureet Singh and Mitchell Johnson, Warner should be at ease as he plays the quicks better than the spinners.
Ravi Bopara – The English all rounder might be an unsung hero for the SH, but he been very consistent with both the bat and ball. He has scored 111 runs and taken 5 wickets as well. Bopara is capable of playing an anchor role, if they lose quick wickets and can also take an aggressor's role in the slog overs. Bopara, as a bowler might not possess much pace to scare the batsmen but his variation of pace have caught batsman by surprise. His all round ability could help SH register their third win of the season.
Kings XI Punjab
Sandeep Sharma – With an economy rate of less than six runs per over in IPL 2015, the bowler from Punjab has been one of the best bowlers this season. He has been a huge threat with the new ball as he can bowl both his in-swinger and out-swingers with great effect. With eight wickets against his name, he is the seventh highest wicket taker in the competition. Kings XI Punjab captain, George Bailey would hope that his swing bowler gets SH's opening pair of Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner for cheap.
George Bailey – The Australian has led the team from the front for KXIP as far as their batting are concerned. With players such as Murli Vijay, Virender Sehwag, Glenn Maxwell failing to live up to their expectations, Bailey has scored some crucial runs this season. With a strike rate of 151, he has scored 165 runs in the competition. With his ability to change gears in no time, the skipper needs to bat accordingly as per the situation demands.