Punjab need experienced hands to come good against batting-heavy Hyderabad

Source: PTI

Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad are set to face off at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Cricket Stadium in Mallanpur. Though both have been fairly inconsistent this season, currently sitting in 5th and 6th place, they will be aware that a victory will make them part of the conversation at the top of the table.

The Punjab squad possesses a diverse range of batting and bowling talents capable of influencing any match. However, for the team to reach its full potential, it requires its players to leverage their experience effectively. Shikhar Dhawan has shown promise but is yet to make a significant impact in the IPL, while Jonny Bairstow, facing some challenges this season, is on a quest to regain form. Both PBKS openers bear the responsibility of establishing a solid foundation during the powerplay. They can dominate any opposition in the first ten overs, but they need to approach their innings with some smart cricket and aggression from the outset, which has been the key for the most successful sides this edition.

There’s great excitement surrounding all-rounder Sam Curran, who hasn’t fully showcased his batting ability this season. Despite being a skilled batter and a reliable finisher, Curran hasn’t reached his batting peak yet. With extensive experience in T20 cricket globally, Curran should be delivering regularly for Punjab. There might be some added pressure on Curran but this is his opportunity to stamp his authority in IPL 2024.  Additionally, attention will be on uncapped Indian players Shashank Singh and Ashutosh Sharma, after their standout performances against Gujarat Titans, to see if they can replicate their success once more.

To ensure victory against Sunrisers, Punjab will heavily rely on their Indian bowling talent and experience as well. Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel, both seasoned IPL performers with international experience, will play crucial roles. While Kagiso Rabada has been exceptional, support from Arshdeep and Harshal will enhance Punjab’s chances. Both are known for their death bowling, and they will simply have to deliver if Punjab are to make the play-offs for the first time in a decade.

SRH, on the other hand,will bank on their batting strength to secure another victory, with Abhishek Sharma taking on a new role at the top alongside the explosive Travis Head. Heinrich Klaasen’s promising form adds depth to the batting order, while Aiden Markram is tasked withstabilising the innings.  However, SRH faces bowling concerns, with Bhuvneshwar Kumar struggling early on. Skipper Pat Cummins has been reliable, but additional support is needed from the rest of the unit, including Jaydev Unadkat, known for his variations.

You have to go back to 2020 for the last time either of these teams finished in the top half of the table. This game could provide significant clues as to whether either is ready to break out of that cycle of mediocrity.

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