Strugglers Punjab Kings and Sunrisers Hyderabad will be desperate for a win to rejuvenate a stuttering season in the first mid-week double-header of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in Chennai on Wednesday.
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The KL Rahul-led Punjab Kings seem to be clueless of what total is good enough to defend. They won by four runs against Rajasthan Royals after posting 221. In their last match, the Mohali-based team scored 195, and Delhi Capitals chased down the target with relative ease in 18.2 overs.
To bolster their bowling attack, the Punjab kings signed up Australian speedsters Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith, but the duo has failed to justify their hefty price tags in the three matches they have played.
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Richardson has taken three wickets in as many games, with an economy of 10.63. Meredith, who had a sensational Big Bash campaign, is either bowling too full or too short. The Tasmanian is leaking runs at 10.50 and has only two wickets to his name in three matches.
Mohammed Shami, who is making a comeback after the injury, has also looked rusty. The 30-year-old was taken to the cleaners by Delhi Capitals batters as he conceded 53 runs in four overs.
Given their obvious issues in the bowling department, the Punjab Kings think-tank might play Chris Jordan ahead of Meredith or Richardson.
The omission of Ravi Bishnoi from the playing XI is also a surprise as the young leggie was their second-best bowler with 12 wickets after Mohammed Shami in the UAE. With Punjab Kings playing their next few matches on the low and slow turners of Chepauk, the young leggie might get a look in.
On the other hand, the Sunrisers Hyderabad seemed clueless on their approach of capitalizing on a flying start from their top order.
Captain David Warner is surprised by his team’s winless streak that has demanded “smart cricket” from his side after their defeat against Mumbai Indians. For the third match in a row, the 2016 champions failed to pull off a chase despite looking in a solid position to win the contest.
Chasing has been Sunrisers’ Achilles heel during the first three matches, once again bringing under scanner their lack of depth in the playing XI and below-par Indian bench strength.
A fit Kane Williamson will be a must for Sunrisers, factoring in his prowess against spin bowling. On a track like Chepauk, at times, it becomes imperative to play as late as possible and use the depth of the crease well, which Williamson is adept at.