The two bottom-placed teams, Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH), are set to clash in the second day game of the IPL 2021 season on Wednesday. Both sides are on a losing run and could do with a win to get their campaign back on track.
Punjab Kings have left Mumbai and will now play two games in Chennai. How they cope with the changed conditions could determine their IPL 2021 fate. Wankhede Stadium didn't treat them too well, despite starting with a thrilling win over the Rajasthan Royals.
KL Rahul’s men have been comprehensively beaten twice since then, as the Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and the Delhi Capitals (DC) exposed the chinks in their armour. Despite scoring 195 in the last game, poor bowling by PBKS meant DC chased down the total with ten balls and six wickets to spare.
PBKS will take some solace from the fact that their fortunes aren’t as bad as their opponents for Wednesday. The only side yet to win a game in IPL 2021, SRH have confounded pundits, who backed the Hyderabad-based outfit to start with a bang.
An unsettled line-up, Kane Williamson’s absence, and the inability of their middle-order to close the deal have seen them lose three in Chennai. SRH botched another chase against the Mumbai Indians last time out. David Warner’s men lost by 13 runs, despite being 57 for no loss in the powerplay in a chase of 151.
SRH will go into the game knowing they have history on their side. They have won 11 games against PBKS, while the Punjab outfit have beaten SRH just five times in the IPL.
IPL 2021: PBKS vs SRH Match Prediction
PBKS will play their first game in Chennai and it should bring about a change in their playing eleven. Ravi Bishnoi may finally make his IPL 2021 debut, while Murugan Ashwin is likely to return as well.
The slow nature of the Chepauk track means either Jhye Richardson or Riley Meredith may be left on the bench. That would open up an overseas slot, which Moises Henriques or even Fabien Allen could fill. Expect Deepak Hooda to roll his arm over if the pitch grips and turns during the day game.
SRH panicked and made four changes ahead of their last game, but it didn’t change their luck as they slumped to another defeat. Kane Williamson’s fitness would be a talking point before the game, but the Kiwi skipper is unlikely to be fit for this one.
After another middle-order collapse, Kedar Jadhav could make his SRH debut as the franchise will look to beef up its batting. Mohammed Nabi could return, too, if SRH opt to further strengthen their batting while not comprising on their spin options. Sandeep Sharma’s stellar IPL record against Chris Gayle (four dismissals) and Mayank Agarwal (three dismissals) may prompt SRH to pick the pacer.
David Warner will be expected to lead from the front, considering he has failed to cross fifty just once in his last ten innings against PBKS. A strong start is integral to a win in Chennai, and an electric start by David Warner would do SRH a world of good. SRH would also hope to see Bhuvneshwar Kumar return to form. He has picked up just two wickets in IPL 2021 while conceding 13.83 runs per over at the death.
KL Rahul’s strike rate will be closely watched after it was called into question in the last game. How the PBKS skipper negotiates the threat of Rashid Khan may prove to be a turning point in the game. The Afghanistan spinner has dismissed KL Rahul thrice in five T20 innings.
SRH are yet to win in Chennai, but it may finally be time for them to register their first win of IPL 2021. They know the conditions better than PBKS and are too good a team to be making the same mistakes again and again. Expect them to take advantage as PBKS get used to the Chepauk and win their first game of the season on Wednesday.
Get the full IPL 2021 schedule here.