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Match 25 of Pepsi IPL 2013 will see the Sunrisers Hyderabad clash with Kings XI Punjab.
The Sunrisers are sitting third in the standings with four wins from six matches which includes a superlative effort in their previous match when they defended 119 to win by 11 runs. Kings XI Punjab have won two of their four matches this season and come into this match at the back of a thrilling four run victory against defending champions Kolkata Knight Riders.
Friday, April 19, 2013, 8 p.m
Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad
This is one of those rare matches where the bowlers will be in the limelight more than the batsmen; four of the top ten wicket-takers this season will feature in this match.
Dale Steyn (SRH) and Praveen Kumar (KXIP) have been sensational so far this season; both players have not only kept the runs down (both players have economy rates of under six) but have picked up wickets too. Ishant Sharma, Azhar Mahmood, Parvinder Awana, Azhar Mahmood and Manpreet Gony are fine support characters who have picked up crucial wickets too. Then there is the battle between the two leg-spinners – SRH’s Amit Mishra and KXIP’s Piyush Chawla – which promises to be a riveting contest.
The performance of the Aussie batsmen will have a significant influence on which way the match will sway. SRH need Cameron White to fire while KXIP will hope for significant contributions from their skipper Adam Gilchrist and David Hussey.
This is the first time these two teams are meeting in the IPL. In their ten matches against the erstwhile Hyderabad franchise – Deccan Chargers – Kings XI Punjab ended up triumphant on seven occasions.
Kings XI Punjab have scored the fewest sixes (7) and conceded the fewest sixes (6) of all the teams in the tournament so far.
Sunrisers Hyderabad enjoy a brief break before they make the trip to Chennai to take on the Chennai Super Kings on April 25. Kings XI Punjab meanwhile head back home to next host Pune Warriors India on April 21.
Darren Lehmann walked into the press conference room at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium to friendly hellos from the local journalists. He met them as one would an old acquaintance or mate. TheKings XI Punjab coach surely looked pleased to be back in Hyderabad city, the home to the IPL franchise he coached last year.
“I have fond memories of this place and it’s good to be back in Hyderabad. I caught up with a few old people and am now looking forward to catching up with a few from the opposition side,” he said, before getting to the business of talking cricket.
Lehmann’s familiarity with Hyderabad and most of the Sunrisers players should help KXIP a great deal. Having worked with the likes ofDale Steyn, Ishant Sharma and Amit Mishra – the premier performers for SRH so far – Lehmann knows his team are for up a tough task.
“They’ve got a very good bowling attack. But we have got our plans. We know pretty much what they do and they know how we play,” Lehmann said.
“I’ve always rated Mishy (Amit Mishra, who bagged his second IPL hat-trick, against Pune Warriors in the last match) high. We’ve got Piyush Chawla and it’s going to be a contest between the two leggies.
“Ishant has had a fine time with the Indian team. He’s a fine young man. He was injured and missed last year’s IPL which was disappointing for the team. He’s a quality bowler and we will have to work our way to get on top of him,” the KXIP coach said.
The Kings’ IPL 2013 journey has been a bit of a mixed bag, two wins and as many losses. While these are early days in the tournament, Lehmann admits that batting is turning out to be a concern for the team.
In their first three games, KXIP scored 100, 138 and 124 before Manpreet Singh Gony’s late fireworks helped them to their first 150-plus score, against the Kolkata Knight Riders.
“We’d like more runs,” Lehmann said. “I think we are the only team in the tournament so far with no batsman scoring a fifty. That’s disappointing from the batting group point of view.
“I thought we started to bat well in the last match but it was mainly due to Gony’s powerful 40-odd. We’re doing all things right in the nets and off the field. They’ve just got to make more runs now,” said the coach.
Contributing to the team’s batting failures is their skipper, Adam Gilchrist’s lack of batting form. Lehmann said it has not yet become a major cause of worry for the team.
“As captain he has done a really good job and his keeping has been fantastic as well. He has to get more runs and he knows that. But no dramas as such,” he said of his former Australian team-mate.
Gony’s blistering 18-ball 42 gave KXIP a thrilling win over the defending champions and Lehmann said the team will draw a lot of confidence from that win going into this match. “You take the confidence because they’re the champions and to beat the best side of last year is important.
“But again, it’s a long tournament, so you don’t dwell in the past too much; you take the confidence from the wins, knowing that you’ve still got a lot of work to do. It’s always about the next match. Hyderabad have won four matches and are going well and we will have to play really well to beat them here.
Lehmann hinted at a few changes in the team combination for the contest against SRH, refusing to divulge any detail.
“We have a couple of injury concerns and you might see a couple of changes in the XI tomorrow. But we’d like to keep it to ourselves. We’ll probably make the decision in the morning,” he said.