Sunrisers ready to take on downcast Kings

Even if it has yielded ground in the away games, Sunrisers Hyderabad's fortunes tend to revive at home. At the Rajiv Gandhi stadium, it will be ready for Kings XI Punjab, which is recovering after a heavy loss to Delhi Daredevils.

If T20 is more about form, however temporary it is, then Sunrisers Hyderabad should have the edge against Kings XI Punjab, regardless of how slender it may be.   -  PTI

Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) seems to assume the armour of invincibility each time it takes on the opposition on home turf. It hasn’t conceded a game here in recent memory and the manner of victories this season have been authoritative.

Even if it has yielded ground in the away games, Sunrisers’ fortunes tend to revive at the Rajiv Gandhi stadium. The side is all too familiar and comfortable with the ground, a fact alluded to by skipper David Warner. The nearly full houses here for the two games may have something to do with it too.

When it crosses swords with Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) on Monday, the Sunrisers’ morale may not be at its peak, for two defeats against it in its most recent outings is bound to rankle. But if the team’s mindset matches that of Ashish Nehra, it will bash on regardless.

“It is early in the tournament and there is no need to panic,” the paceman had said after the defeat to Kolkata Knight Riders on Saturday night.

Glenn Maxwell’s post-mortem of KXIP’s defeat to Delhi Daredevils had a head-on honesty about it. “The weaknesses were everything—batting, bowling and fielding,” he said.

He suggested a rejig for the upcoming game. “We’ve got the skills and our bowlers are good enough to dominate batting sides,” he asserted. Real strength lay not in the dressing room but in performing out there, he stated, “It’s probably got to the point that I’ll pick uncapped players who will execute plans.”

Punjab’s swashbuckling skipper will need to lead by example though. His frailties against leg-spin, exploited by Amit Misra, may come in for even greater scrutiny against the unorthodox fare of Rashid Khan. Eoin Morgan and David Miller will also need to boost the side’s sagging fortunes with some dominating batting displays.

If T20 is more about form, however temporary it is, then Sunrisers should have the edge, regardless of how slender it may be. Bhuvneshwar Kumar dons the purple cap with more than a fair measure of authority, reinventing himself each time, ever the man of few words and big deeds. Warner’s appetite for the orange cap is not quite easy to satiate either. The IPL's a happy hunting ground for the marauding opener.

With two wins and two losses, a better net run rate separates the Sunrisers from the Kings. Monday’s match should see the host maintain that distance from the visiting team.