Deadline: April 8, 2019 at 8 PM
Venue: Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali
Probable XI for Punjab: KL Rahul (wk), Chris Gayle, Mayank Agarwal, Sarfaraz Khan, David Miller, Mandeep Singh, Sam Curran, R Ashwin (c), M Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Hardus Viljoen/Andrew Tye/Mujeeb Ur Rahman
Probable XI for Hyderabad: David Warner, Jonny Bairstow (wk), Vijay Shankar, Manish Pandey/Ricky Bhui, Yusuf Pathan/Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Mohammad Nabi, Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar (c), Sandeep Sharma, Siddarth Kaul.
Pitch and conditions
Punjab have won both their games at home: one while batting first and the other while chasing. On both occasions, runs were easy to score, but when bowled closer to the stumps, the extra bounce and pace made it difficult for the batters to adjust their foot work and find gaps.
There will be some dew in the second innings but not as threatening as we have witnessed down south.
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My XI: Jonny Bairstow (wk), Chris Gayle, David Warner (c), David Miller, Sarfraz Khan, Mohammad Nabi (vc), Vijay Shankar, Ravichandran Ashwin, Sandeep Sharma, Rashid Khan, Siddarth Kaul
Who will Williamson replace if fit?
What Hyderabad had feared finally came to the fore. Their middle order was exposed after both Warner and Bairstow failed to provide impetus against Mumbai. For a team that has scored over 200 twice this season, bundling out for a mere 96 runs was uncharacteristic, thanks to Alzarri Joseph’s 6 for 12 – the best figures in the IPL.
Williamson had suffered a grade 1 tear in his shoulder during the Test series against Bangladesh last month and hence could play only one match so far. Keeping the 2019 World Cup in mind, it is a wise move. However, Hyderabad are in a dire need of his batting services.
We all know the solution, that Williamson should play. But the solution produces another question: at whose expense will Hyderabad play him?
Warner and Bairstow have hundreds to their names and the former is the holder of the Orange cap. Rashid Khan’s economy, as has been the case for the past few years, is brilliant. Batters are yet to score runs at will against him. And then there is Nabi: he has taken 7 wickets in a mere three matches and played the finisher’s role to perfection against Delhi.
It isn’t the right time to be a part of the Hyderabad team management. They have some tough calls to make.
Punjab fumble at key moments
Punjab were outplayed by Chennai in the last match. Despite Rahul and Sarfraz’s 110-run stand in a pursuit of 161 runs, they ended up losing the game. The duo could not up the ante, as Chennai bowled in the right channels.
There were many questions posed. Should Sarfraz and Rahul have taken more risks? Should Miller have come ahead of Sarfraz? We are almost halfway through the tournament. Punjab need to get their batting order sorted.
R Ashwin was the only wicket-taker in the previous match, thanks to his namesake Murugan who kept putting pressure on the other end. Murugan gave away a mere 32 runs in 4 overs, while R Ashwin took 3 wickets.
It is their pace unit that has been letting them down. Shami, Curran and Tye need to pull up their socks.