He can frustrate Bairstow if he keeps the opener quiet.

The Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will face the Punjab Kings (PBKS) in game 70 of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022 at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on Sunday. The last match of the league stage has been turned into a dead rubber as the four qualification slots have already been booked. Still, both Hyderabad and Punjab will be keen to end their IPL 2022 campaign on a high. SRH managed to beat the Mumbai Indians (MI) by three runs in their previous game. They put up an impressive 193 for 6 on the board and then survived a Tim David scare. On the other hand, Punjab were very poor against the Delhi Capitals (DC). They restricted the opponents to 159 for 7 but failed to chase down the gettable total. Here are five player battles to watch out for in the SRH-PBKS clash. 

1. Abhishek Sharma vs Kagiso Rabada: SRH opener Abhishek Sharma has been among the few bright spots for the Sunrisers in an otherwise forgettable year. He has been fluent in the powerplay and has been able to pierce the gaps with ease. He also has the ability to go over the top. When the tournament began, there were question marks over his place as an opener in the team. But he has answered critics in fine style. He will face a tough challenge when he comes up against Kagiso Rabada, though. The PBKS pacer will look to unsettle Sharma with his pace, something similar to what Jasprit Bumrah did with Prithvi Shaw on Saturday. Can the young SRH opener hold his own?

2. Jonny Bairstow vs Bhuvneshwar Kumar: This promises to be a mouth-watering prospect. Jonny Bairstow has been in brilliant, striking form of late, and things could have been much different for PBKS if he was made to open earlier. The England big-hitter will be keen to end his IPL 2022 campaign on a high note. At the other end, Bhuvneshwar Kumar may have not claimed a lot of wickets, but he has been exceptionally economical. In the last match against MI, he bowled a wicket maiden in the penultimate over, under intense pressure. He can frustrate Bairstow if he keeps the opener quiet. How the Englishman reacts to the challenge will be interesting to see.

3. Rahul Tripathi vs Rahul Chahar: The battle of the Rahuls in the last league game of IPL 2022. Rahul Tripathi and Rahul Chahar have experienced contrasting fortunes even as their respective franchises have charted a similar path. SRH batter Tripathi has played some fantastic knocks, and he was the man of the match against Mumbai as well for his 76. PBKS leggie Chahar, on the other hand, has blown hot and cold. Tripathi loves taking on the spinners, and Chahar has been expensive in a few games. Who will win the tussle of the namesakes?

4. Liam Livingstone vs Umran Malik: On paper, this promises an intriguing battle. Punjab’s Liam Livingstone has been in supreme big-hitting form with the willow. He has come in and played some incredible knocks during the course of this year’s edition. He will want to sign off with another memorable effort. With SRH’s Umran Malik, it has been all or nothing. He has either claimed a bagful of wickets and stunned the opposition or has conceded plenty. Which Malik will turn up on Sunday?

5. Nicholas Pooran vs Arshdeep Singh: West Indies batter Nicholas Pooran has done a good job for SRH at the death. He has managed to find the big hits, timing the ball well. Unfortunately for him and the franchise, most of his knocks have come in losing causes. Still, Pooran will want to finish on a high. Arshdeep Singh has been the unsung hero for Punjab. Game after game, he has come in and done damage control at the death. Nothing different will be expected from him on Sunday.

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