Struggling Kings XI hopes to stem slide against Sunrisers

Kings XI Punjab, positioned at the bottom of the points table, will face a confident Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium on Saturday.

David Miller is optimistic of a win that will catalyse his team's much-needed change of course.   -  Akhilesh Kumar

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) should hold its own against Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) when they meet at the Rajiv Gandhi International stadium on Saturday.

After those early defeats, the momentum SRH sought so much came in a surge. Thursday’s 10-wicket away win against a hitherto undefeated Gujarat Lions must be more than a shot in the arm for the Eagles. At home, the conquest of reigning champion Mumbai Indians brought back belief for the host, perhaps.

Shikhar Dhawan’s return to form at Rajkot bodes well for the Hyderabad side. His destructive abilities along with those of David Warner have seen the duo dismantle several attacks.

As a trail blazer, the Sunrisers’ skipper has been nothing short of inspiring, his energy seemingly running down the ranks. The home side’s bowling unit has hit a purple patch too, spearheaded by the industrious Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

Solitary win

The sole bright spot in Punjab’s loss to the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at Mohali was Shaun Marsh’s unbeaten 56. Half centuries by M. Vijay and Manan Vohra topped up with Glenn Maxwell’s 32 not out saw the northern side register its lone win by six wickets against Rising Pune Supergiants.

Much would be required from the Punjab squad to lift itself up from the bottom of the table. David Miller was quite optimistic, though, on the eve of the contest. “Win or lose, we are keeping positive all the time. We haven’t had the greatest of starts and the table is tight now. A win tomorrow will change things a lot,” he surmised.

The approach to the face-off was no rocket science. “We need to get the basics right, me as well,” he hastily added when quizzed about how he motivated his side despite poor personal form. “It’s good to see Shaun Marsh back among the runs. We didn’t start too well with the ball, but we finished well,” he noted on deriving positives from their last game against KKR.

On what lessons the team had for 17-year-old Armaan Jaffer, Miller said, “He can try and learn as much as he can on what makes professionals tick. He’s in a great environment and has a lot to look forward to. He may actually get a game later in the tournament.”

The stylish southpaw couldn’t help but recall his days as a 20-year-old, six years ago. “I didn’t play a single match but rubbed shoulders with players such as Adam Gilchrist, David Hussey, Michael Bevan while Jason Gillespie was coach,” he added.

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