Match 14 of the IPL 2021 season will see the Punjab Kings (PBKS) face-off against the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. The afternoon game will be the first of an IPL 2021 double-header on Thursday.
The majority of the games in Chennai so far have been low-scoring affairs, which goes to show how important the performances of the two bowling attacks will be in determining the result of this contest.
3 bowlers to watch out for in PBKS vs SRH encounter
The PBKS bowling attack has been leaking runs so far in the tournament and the team are yet to find a settled bowling combination. Having narrowly won one solitary game off the last ball, despite setting a target of 222, the PBKS bowling attack is certainly under the pump.
SRH, on the other hand, have been decent with the ball on the slow surface in Chennai. It is their batting that has let them down, which is why their bowlers might need to produce a fabulous performance to register their first win of the season.
On that note, let's look at the three bowlers who could end up being the highest wicket-takers in the PBKS vs SRH encounter.
#3 T Natarajan
T Natarajan's exclusion from the SRH team for their clash against the Mumbai Indians (MI) certainly raised a few eyebrows. Although it was later revealed that Natarajan was left out to manage his workload, the left-arm pacer might be back into the team for the game against PBKS.
After his breakout IPL season last year, in which he picked up 16 wickets, Natarajan has grown into one of the main bowlers for SRH. With Bhuvneshwar Kumar looking woefully out of form with the ball, the 29-year-old may need to step up to end his side's winless run.
If Natarajan gets back to his best, his four overs could determine the fate of the game. He may well be the player who ends up earning SRH their first win of the season.
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#2 Arshdeep Singh
PBKS looked to have sorted the bowling issues they faced last year through the expensive acquisitions of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith. However, three games into the tournament, KL Rahul is facing the same conundrum that he had to deal with last season.
With most of the PBKS bowlers proving to be highly expensive, Arshdeep Singh has been the one bowler who has looked the best of the lot. The 22-year-old was impressive in last year's IPL too, picking 9 wickets from 8 games.
Arshdeep took that form into the Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy and was in fine form for Punjab with 10 wickets from 7 games. With the likes of Mohammed Shami, Richardson and Meredith in the PBKS ranks, not many would have expected the left-arm pacer to be the standout pacer.
Arshdeep has already had five wickets in just three games this season and is bowling at a brilliant economy rate of 7.11. His change of pace will be quite handy on the two-paced surface in Chennai.
With PBKS desperately needing a win after back-to-back losses, Arshdeep could be the dark horse who delivers under pressure.
#1 Rashid Khan
Who else but Rashid Khan makes the top of the list? The Afghanistan star has been one of the biggest match-winners the IPL has ever seen. The batsmen still find it tough to pick Rashid's variations and that is what makes him the biggest weapon for SRH.
Unsurprisingly, Rashid is the highest wicket-taker for SRH this season and has threatened to run through the opposition batting line-up on multiple occasions. PBKS do have a thin batting line-up and they were exposed against CSK when they lost early wickets.
If Rashid Khan can make inroads into the PBKS batting, he may pick up wickets in a heap and win the game for his side. The pitch in Chennai also suits his style of bowling, which makes him even more dangerous.
SRH skipper David Warner believes in using Rashid sparingly and thus, it becomes quite important for the leggie to be effective whenever he is called up to bowl. If he finds his rhythm, Rashid could cause mayhem in the middle with the ball.