Liam Livingstone knows only one way to bat, and Umran Malik knows only one way to bowl.

The Punjab Kings (PBKS) will face the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) in game 28 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) at the DY Patil Sports Academy in Navi Mumbai on Sunday, in the first match of the double-header. PBKS are number five in the points table, having won three and lost two matches. In their last game, they got the better of the Mumbai Indians (MI) by 12 runs. As for SRH, they are seventh in the points table. However, that is a somewhat misleading stat as they have won three matches in a row. Hyderabad completed a hat-trick of wins in IPL 2022 by hammering the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by seven wickets in their previous match. Here are five player battles to watch out for between the two form teams.

1. Mayank Agarwal vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar: PBKS skipper Mayank Agarwal struck form after a few disappointing scores. He was the man of the match for his blazing 52 off 32 in Punjab’s win over Mumbai. What Agarwal does when he is in form is that he exploits the field restrictions very well. He is adept at going over the top and clearing the in-field with ease. Agarwal will look to do the same against SRH as well. Senior Hyderabad pacer Bhuvneshwar Kumar seems to have found some rhythm in recent games. He may not have picked up a lot of wickets, but he has been impactful. Will he be able to keep Agarwal quiet at the start?

2. Abhishek Sharma vs Vaibhav Arora: The clash of the young Indian stars promises excitement. SRH opener Abhishek Sharma has played a couple of fluent knocks in the IPL, which includes a match-winning half-century. He strikes the ball cleanly and is capable of scoring quickly without resorting to slogging. PBKS pacer Vaibhav Arora has played three matches in the IPL and has seen both sides of the coin. He made a big impact with 2 for 21 in his first match against CSK. In the last game against Mumbai, though, he took some tap. How will Arora respond to the challenge of bowling to an in-form Sharma?

3. Liam Livingstone vs Umran Malik: This is one enticing contest on paper. Liam Livingstone knows only one way to bat, and Umran Malik knows only one way to bowl. The PBKS batter will look to take on the SRH speedster for sure. Livingstone has played a couple of blinders in the IPL and will be keen to come up with another one on Sunday as well. Malik may have the tendency to be expensive, but he is a wicket-taker without a doubt. Against KKR, he was brilliant and knocked over opposition skipper Shreyas Iyer with a yorker. He will be up for the challenge against Livingstone.

4. Rahul Tripathi vs Arshdeep Singh: SRH batter Rahul Tripathi has been in superb form for the franchise this season. The ball is hitting the sweet spot of his bat and making a cracking noise. In the last three games, Tripathi has smacked 39 not out off 15, 17 off 11 (retired hurt) and 71 off 37. He has just looked like a player in great form. High on confidence, Tripathi will look to carry on the wonderful run. If he is out in the middle, PBKS will look to use Arshdeep Singh to stop him. The left-arm pacer may not have claimed many wickets but has been superb in various phases of the game with his pinpoint accuracy.

5. Jitesh Sharma vs T Natarajan: This will be quite an interesting contest. PBKS’ keeper-batter Jitesh Sharma has outshone Shahrukh Khan in the finisher’s role. He has contributed 26, 23 and 30* in the three games that he has played, all at a quick pace. Sharma has displayed the ability to play cheeky strokes. At the death overs, though, he will be up against SRH’s T Natarajan this time. The left-arm seamer has been in splendid form for the franchise. Sharma will need to be wary of the yorker, which Natarajan will definitely look to slip in.

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