Punjab Kings (PBKS) will take on Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in the 14th match of IPL 2021 at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. Both sides have got off to a bad start in the tournament. PBKS escaped defeat by a narrow margin against Rajasthan Royals (RR) but then went down to both Chennai Super Kings (CSK) and Delhi Capitals (DC). SRH have fared even worse, losing all the matches they have featured in so far. As the results suggest, they have looked the most ragged of all sides. With the two under-performing sides meeting each other, we take a look at three player battles to watch out for.
- Mayank Agarwal vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar
Although Punjab went down to Delhi in their previous encounter, Mayank Agarwal came up with an excellent knock. He announced his return to form with a smashing 69 off only 36 balls. The stroke-filled knock featured seven fours and four sixes. Unlike in most of the matches across formats for the last couple of months, Agarwal looked in sublime touch against Delhi. He found the middle of the bat with ease. PBKS will be extremely pleased for Agarwal is a key component of the batting unit.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar has just not been his usual reliable self for SRH in the tournament so far. His lack of form has been one of the many reasons behind SRH’s early struggles in IPL 2021. Kumar has not found his line and length and has been brutally attacked. In the match against MI, he conceded 45 runs in his four overs as Kieron Pollard took him on. The additional runs that Kumar gave away made a huge difference in the end. He will be keen to come back strongly against Punjab. And his battle with Agarwal will be one to look forward to.
2. David Warner vs Mohammed Shami
SRH skipper David Warner has been in good form this season. However, he has not been as prolific as expected, failing to take the team home after getting starts. Against RCB, he gave his wicket away just when SRH were beginning to gain control. Then, in the match against MI, he was run out by a brilliant throw from Hardik Pandya. Again, it was a risk that could have been avoided and turned the momentum of the match. Warner will know very well that he will have to stand up for the team. With three losses against their name, it is about time the real Warner comes to the fore.
Mohammed Shami had a poor match against DC. But that had more to do with the dew and wet ball conditions, which made it difficult for him to grip the ball. In the end, he was totally frustrated and gave up. However, the experienced fast bowler was highly impactful in the first two matches. He got key wickets and build pressure on the opponents. PBKS will be confident that the Shami of old will turn up against Warner and co.
3. Shahrukh Khan vs Rashid Khan
Even as PBKS have gone down in the last couple of games, newcomer Shahrukh Khan has given a good account of himself with the bat. He made a fine 47 against CSK to give the team some hope in the chase. Though it was not enough to stop PBKS from victory, it did give a hint of the talent Khan possesses. Against DC as well, Khan came in and struck a handy 15 off only 5 balls. PBKS will want him to carry on his good run.
At the end of the innings against SRH, Khan could come up against class leg-spinner Rashid Khan. With his experience and expertise, Rashid would obviously have the advantage over the relatively inexperienced PBKS batsman. But Khan seems to have a good temperament and could be a dark hose against Rashid. This will be an interesting battle to look forward to.