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23rd Match (N), Mullanpur, April 09, 2024, Indian Premier League
(20 ov, T:183) 180/6

SRH won by 2 runs

Player Of The Match
64 (37) & 1/33
Cricinfo's MVP
116.45 ptsImpact List

Kings' death bowling in focus against power-packed Sunrisers

With four back-to-back games in Mullanpur, Kings will hope home comforts help them get out of the mid-table points jam

Vishal Dikshit
Vishal Dikshit

Match details

Punjab Kings (PBKS) vs Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)
Mullanpur, 7.30pm IST (2pm GMT)

Big Picture - Sunrisers might exploit Kings' death bowling

Sunrisers Hyderabad and Punjab Kings look like two teams who have had very similar journeys so far this IPL - two wins from four games and sitting in the middle of the points table - but their passage to get there could have hardly been more contrasting. If Sunrisers have been the second-quickest batting team in powerplays this IPL (before the CSK vs KKR game on Monday) with a run rate of 11.66, Kings have been the second-worst bowling in the death overs (17-20) this IPL, leaking runs at 12.65.
Sunrisers' fresh batting approach this IPL has largely been because of Travis Head and Abhishek Sharma's success at the top. While Head carried forward his stellar form from 2023, Abhishek's firepower has surprised many. Hardly a household name in T20 cricket, he has left many big-hitters behind in recent months with his boundary-hitting. Since October 2023, Abhishek has smashed 101 boundaries (47 fours and 54 sixes) in 326 balls, which adds up to one boundary every 3.23 balls, second only to Andre Russell's 3.12 (taking into account stats for batters with at least 50 boundaries in this period).
Abhishek's methods might be high-risk but they've brought high-reward: he has not been dismissed very often while going for the big hits. His 101 boundaries have come across 14 innings in which he has averaged 46 while batting in the top three. He has struck two centuries in this phase, which also includes ten knocks for champions Punjab in the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy, where he was the second-highest scorer while striking at 192. He has been smashing runs at 217.56 this IPL. If in the last two IPLs he hit a six almost every 25 balls, this IPL he is doing it five times as often, hitting a six every five balls.
And he has done it against pace and spin, in the powerplay and the middle overs. With batters like Head alongside him, and Heinrich Klaasen and Abdul Samad to follow, the Kings bowlers will have to up their game significantly. They will be hoping their international bowlers Arshdeep Singh and Harshal Patel fare much better in the death overs.
Kings will play their next four games in Mullanpur, and will want to take full advantage of home comforts to climb up the points table.

Form guide

PBKS WLLW (most recent first)

Team news and Impact Player strategy

Punjab Kings
Kings were without Liam Livingstone in their last game because of injury. He was replaced by Sikandar Raza, who couldn't make an impact with either bat or ball against Gujarat Titans. Livingstone resumed training with the team on Monday but is still being assessed.
For their impact subs, Kings have consistently subbed out Arshdeep Singh for a batter like Prabhsimran Singh, or vice versa.
Likely XII: 1 Shikhar Dhawan (capt), 2 Jonny Bairstow (wk), 3 Prabhsimran Singh, 4 Sam Curran, 5 Jitesh Sharma (wk), 6 Shashank Singh, 7 Sikandar Raza, 8 Harpreet Brar, 9 Harshal Patel, 10 Kagiso Rabada, 11 Arshdeep Singh, 12 Ashutosh Sharma
Sunrisers Hyderabad
T Natarajan returned in their last game after recovering from injury but Mayank Agarwal missed out because he was unwell. It is as yet unclear if Agarwal is fit for Tuesday, although he trained on Monday.
For their Impact Player strategy, Sunrisers have kept it straightforward so far by swapping out one of the top-order batters - Head, Abhishek or Agarwal - for a frontline quick like Natarajan or Umran Malik, except in one game where they brought in allrounder Washington Sundar while batting first because they were 114 for 5.
Likely XII: 1 Abhishek Sharma, 2 Travis Head, 3 Aiden Markram, 4 Shahbaz Ahmed, 5 Heinrich Klaasen (wk), 6 Nitish Kumar Reddy/Washington Sundar, 7 Abdul Samad, 8 Pat Cummins (capt), 9 Bhuvneshwar Kumar, 10 Mayank Markande, 11 Jaydev Unadkat, 12 Umran Malik.

In the spotlight - Pat Cummins and Arshdeep Singh

Pat Cummins was once a powerplay enforcer with the ball for Kolkata Knight Riders who went for quite a few runs, but a change of role in a new team has seen his numbers improve. He is now bowling a lot more in the middle overs (7-16), conceding runs at just 7.75 an over, his second-best economy rate since his maiden IPL season of 2014. If he can continue that form, it will bode very well for Sunrisers.
Arshdeep Singh made his name in the IPL with his swing upfront and his nerveless death bowling. However, his death-bowling exploits have faded in the last couple of seasons. If he was economical in that phase (7.58) in IPL 2022, he failed to pick more than four wickets. And when he picked seven wickets at the death in IPL 2023, he leaked 9.50 runs an over. This IPL has been even worse - just one wicket and an economy rate of 11.70 in 20 balls. Will the real Arshdeep please stand up?

Pitch and conditions - Back to Mullanpur

This is going to be just the second IPL game at the Maharaja Yadavindra Singh Stadium in Mullanpur. In the first, Kings started on a winning note against Delhi Capitals by chasing down 175. The spinners didn't leak as many runs as the quicks on that night, but it's been more than two weeks since then and conditions could easily have changed.

Stats that matter - Cummins against Kings' top order

  • Cummins has a dominant record against both Dhawan and Bairstow. In the 25 balls Cummins has bowled to each of the two batters, he has dismissed them twice each while conceding 16 runs to Bairstow and 31 to Dhawan.
  • Dhawan might be better off going after Jaydev Unadkat, off whom he has scored 70 runs off 44 balls in the IPL, while being dismissed just once.
  • Sunrisers have a dominating 14-7 record against Kings, their best win percentage (66.67%) against any team.
  • Two Sunrisers batters have a strike rate of over 200 in 2024 (minimum 100 runs) - Klaasen (204.85) and Abhishek (217.56). From Kings, the highest strike rate is 161.53 - by Prabhsimran Singh.
  • Quotes

    "We are delighted to return to our home crowd and cannot wait to meet with everyone who comes out to cheer for us at the stadium."
    Punjab Kings captain Shikhar Dhawan is excited about the crowd support at Mullanpur
    "You've got to use variations in T20s, you've got to use everything you have, not just the slower bouncers but you've got to bowl wide, straight on the legs, and that's how you have to keep the batsmen guessing. As a bowler, you've got to be unpredictable with your lines and pace."
    The experienced Jaydev Unadkat of Sunrisers Hyderabad on what it takes to be successful, even with the new two-bouncers-per-over rule

    Vishal Dikshit is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

    Win Probability
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    Over 20 • PBKS 180/6

    SRH won by 2 runs
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