Still smarting from their opening loss, Sunrisers Hyderabad have the arduous task of taming a rampaging Kings XI Punjab when they lock horns in IPL-7 at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.
The Sunrisers suffered a last-over defeat to Rajasthan Royals when James Faulkner blasted two fours in as many balls to chase down their modest target of 133 on Friday.
The Hyderabad team failed to put up enough runs on the board as skipper Shikhar Dhawan and David Warner lost wickets after setting a foundation and they would look to not repeat the mistake against Punjab, who are on a roll with two wins.
Punjab have proved that no target is stiff enough for them as they chased down scores of 205 and 191 against Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals respectively with more than an over to spare.
The team has relied on the dangerous duo of Glenn Maxwell and David Miller, who have shown little respect for the opposition bowlers going on a rampage to blow Chennai and Rajasthan away.
With scores such as 95 runs off 43 balls and 89 in 45 balls, Maxwell has been the most devastating batsman in IPL-7 this year, while Miller too has been simply unstoppable as he blasted a 37-ball 54 and a 19-ball 51 in his last two unbeaten innings respectively and skipper George Bailey will want the duo to continue the carnage.
For Hyderabad, it would be the pace troika of Dale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who would be in the firing line of Maxwell and Miller and Dhawan would hope they do enough to stop them from running away with the match.
The Hyderabad pace troika had reduced Rajasthan to 31 for three in 6.2 overs in their last match and they will have to produce a similar dose of seam and bounce to tame Punjab.
In spin department, the Sunrisers have a potent combination in India leg-spinner Amit Mishra and Meerut-lad Karn Sharma.
While Mishra has been brilliant during the World Twenty20 with 10 wickets in six matches, Karn too had done a good job for Hyderabad in the last season, taking 11 wickets in 13 matches and a lot will depend on them when they come to bowl in the middle overs of the match.
Despite winning their matches so far, bowling still remains a problem for Kings XI Punjab. Their bowlers — both pacers and spinner — have failed to contain the run flow and take enough wickets which has allowed their opponents to post big scores.
Mitchell Johnson has looked a pale shadow of what he did during the Ashes, while other pacers Lakshmipathi Balaji and Parvinder Awana too have have been expensive.
Spinner Akshar Patel has taken a couple of wickets but didn’t get good support from Murali Kartik or Maxwell.