The ninth match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014 at the iconic Sharjah Cricket Ground bringsKings XI Punjab (KXIP) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) to go head to head in what promises to be a contrast in styles on display. Punjab, with the red-hot form that they have shown in their two previous games so far, are the firm favourites for the game. Any team that has the likes of Glenn Maxwell, George Bailey and David Miller in their ranks should be considered a force to reckon with and the trio has proved their mettle so far at different junctures of their two games.
Punjab’s middle-order has already left bowling attacks scratching their head for answers. Not often in IPL’s history have we seen a team chase down two humongous scores on the trot. Playing against the mighty Chennai Super Kings, Maxwell’s extraordinary onslaught took Punjab over the line while chasing a daunting 206-run target.
The second game against Rajasthan Royals (RR) yet again saw the bowlers leak a huge score. Glenn ‘Big Show’ Maxwell yet again meant business, walloping the ball into the streets of Sharjah and David Miller’s astounding knock towards the end proved that no target is insurmountable for Punjab. Their bowling has faltered despite having the deadly Mitchell Johnson in their line-up. The experienced Laxmipathy Balaji has also been pickings for the batsmen and Johnson himself has looked a pale shadow of the bowler that had England and South African batsmen ducking for cover.
Sunrisers Hyderabad are now in their second season in IPL and managed a creditable performance in their debut season. Hyderabad have a more balanced unit than their counterparts in the game despite succumbing to a defeat in their opening encounter against Rajasthan. The core of the Hyderabad squad is filled with Australians with the two-most talked about batsmen in recent times — Aaron Finch and David Warner — coming in at the top of the order.
Shikhar Dhawan is still coming to terms with his duties as a captain and is looking for the winning formula. Dhawan is looking to get a big score, which he desperately needs at the moment. In their first encounter against Rajasthan Royals, Sunrisers failed to notch up a big score and left Dale Steyn with too much to do.
The progress of Sunrisers would directly reflect the fortunes of Team India as well, with the countdown for the ICC World Cup 2015 already under way, it is important that Indian international contingent Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar rally around Steyn. This encounter, though, should be a battle between the batting of Punjab and the bowling of Hyderabad.
Kings XI Punjab: George Bailey (c), David Miller, Manan Vohra, Mitchell Johnson, Glenn Maxwell, Virender Sehwag, Rishi Dhawan, Wriddhiman Saha (wk), Shaun Marsh, Cheteshwar Pujara, Beuran Hendricks, Lakshmipathy Balaji, Thisara Perera, Gurkeerat Mann Singh, Murali Kartik, Sandeep Sharma, Mandeep Singh, Akshar Patel, Parvinder Awana, Shardul Thakur, Anureet Singh, Shivam Sharma, Karanveer Singh.
Sunrisers Hyderabad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), David Warner, Aaron Finch, Irfan Pathan, Srikkanth Anirudha, Darren Sammy, Naman Ojha (wk), Parvez Rasool, Dale Steyn, Amit Mishra, Karn Sharma, Ishant Sharma, Ricky Bhui, Amit Paunikar, Moises Henriques, Ashish Reddy, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Jason Holder, Chama Milind, Manpreet Juneja, KL Rahul, Brendan Taylor, Prasanth Parmeswaran, Venugopal Rao, KL Rahul.
Time: 20:00 IST | 14:30 GMT