IPL 2021: Hyderabad need points to stay relevant in the tournament

Ayaz Memon/Mumbai
Filed on April 20, 2021
Manish Pandey and David Warner during the match against Royal Challengers Bangalore. (BCCI)

Hyderabad's main problem is the fragile middle-order

Punjab will be playing their first match in Chennai. How quickly they adapt to the new pitch and conditions remains to be seen.

The Chepauk pitch usually helps spinners, and Punjab have so far had little success with their slow bowlers. M Ashwin couldn’t make an impact in the first couple of games.

Jalaj Saxena, surprisingly picked over Ravi Bishnoi in the third game, also failed to make an impact.

Will Bishnoi make the cut this time? Will Punjab play two spinners, given how spinners have thrived on this pitch?

Punjab need to get some teeth into the bowling. In the first match, they barely managed to stave off Rajasthan Royals despite scoring 221, and then failed to defend 196 against Delhi.

Mohammed Shami has looked good in patches. Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith haven’t yet looked at ease in Indian conditions.

In the circumstances, it’s either Chris Jordan or Moises Henriques that could find a place in the playing XI against the Sunrisers Hyderabad on Wednesday.

Punjab’s strength so far has been their batting. KL Rahul has been brilliant this season too, playing the roles of anchor and the destructive batsman with equal ease.

Mayank Agarwal, after a poor start, came into his own against the Delhi Capitals, though his half-century finally went in vain.

Chris Gayle has looked in good nick so far, and Deepak Hooda has made runs at scorching pace. Nicholas Pooran hasn’t been among runs, and may have to make way for Dawid Malan who has been a T20 run-glutton in recent times.

That said, it can’t be overlooked that against CSK, it was the batting that let Punjab down, scoring just 105.

Hyderabad, meanwhile, are in a swamp of their own, having lost all three matches played so far. The main problem is the fragile middle-order, compounded by the dilemma about which overseas players to deploy for making the best combination.

Apart from skipper David Warner and Jonny Bairstow, the batting has struggled. Manish Pandey has scored runs, but not at the desired pace. Vijay Shankar, another India international, has had his moments with ball and bat without looking like a match-winner.

With Rashid Khan a certainty in the playing XI along with Warner and Bairstow, Hyderabad have not been able to find a place for either Kane Williamson or Jason Roy.

Kedar Jadhav, with his part-time spin and quality batting, could offer the ideal solution, opening the way for the inclusion of either Williamson or Roy ahead of Holder or Mohammad Nabi.

Whatever the choice, the Sunrisers need to get on to the points table if they have to remain relevant in the tournament.

Wednesday’s match

Punjab vs Hyderabad

2pm UAE Time

Players to Watch Out For:

Punjab: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Mohammed Shami

Hyderabad: David Warner, Rashid Khan, Vijay Shankar

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