IPL 2019: Warner gears up for final challenge as Hyderabad, Punjab eye playoff spot

With a playoff spot at stake, Sunrisers Hyderabad will be keen on star performer David Warner delivering the goods one last time this season before joining the Australian team for the forthcoming World Cup.

David Warner, with 611 runs from 11 games, has been a leading light for Sunrisers Hyderabad in this edition of the IPL.   -  IPL

David Warner, with 611 runs from 11 games, has been a leading light for Sunrisers Hyderabad in this edition of the IPL. And with the flamboyant opener set to play his final game this season before joining the Australian team for the forthcoming World Cup, the home side will be keen that he scripts a winning moment when the R. Ashwin-led Kings XI Punjab comes visiting on Monday night.

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The equation is pretty simple for the teams — both have 10 points each from 11 games — they need to win all their remaining three matches to make the playoffs.

READ | IPL Playoffs and final to begin at 7:30pm

Sunrisers’ captain Kane Williamson says that it will be great to play in front of the home crowd. But, with its confidence dented after the loss to Rajasthan Royals on Saturday, Sunrisers may not find it easy against a team which can surprise the best on its day.

Potential treat

The game may prove to be a treat for fans if Warner at the top for Sunrisers and Chris Gayle (10 matches, 444 runs) for Kings XI Punjab, both get going.

READ| IPL 2019 points table: Team standings and rankings

Manish Pandey’s welcome return to form notwithstanding, Sunrisers’ middle-order continues to be brittle. It poses a serious challenge in either setting a target or chasing down a big score if the top three — Warner, Williamson and Manish — fail.

In bowling, leggie Rashid Khan seems to be the only bowler who looks like taking wickets. But to the Sunrisers camp’s dismay, opponents are playing it safe against him and targeting the rest, who have been inconsistent, to say the least.

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All-round attack

For Kings XI, its street-smart captain Ashwin should have a few tricks up his sleeve. Punjab has a line-up with potential match-winners like opener K.L. Rahul, David Miller, Sam Curran and Mayank Agarwal in batting and a very experienced bowling attack headed by Mohammad Shami in pace and Ashwin in spin.

This is Sunrisers’ last home game before flying to Mumbai and Bengaluru for the final two engagements. Kings XI meanwhile will be at home to KKR and CSK to round off its league campaign.

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