Sunrisers Hyderabad v Kings XI Punjab
Monday 29 April 15.30
TV: live on BT Sport
Sunrisers's campaign contiues to falter. After consecutive wins against Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders, they have now lost two on the spin again. It's four defeats in the last six.
The most recent of those was a bad one. A seven-wicket loss to Rajasthan Royals, after being in a position of strength, was a disaster. They should have been beating a team so disrupted by England call-ups.
There have been worries about their batting from the get-go. They don't blow sides away with the bat. Never have done. Their skill was to bowl like demons whether they had posted par or were bowling first. That ability has deserted them. They couldn't defend Fort Knox on that Royals show.
Bhuv Kumar has lost his mojo, taking a wicket at more than every 40 balls, Sidd Kaul has been in and out of the team because of an economy rate of almost nine and an equally-bad strike rate as Kumar. These two used to set the tone.
The loss of Jonny Bairstow to England hurts their ability for the fast starts a wobbly middle-order needed. Kane Williamson has come back in to open with David Warner.
Kings XI are making inconsistency into an art form. They have managed back-to-back wins once and follow good performances with bad. It's now or never, though it would seem with the threat of a third-straight loss damaging play-off chances.
Last time out they were hugely disappointing against Royal Challengers Bangalore. They completely lost the plot at the death in the first- and second-innings. Bowling first they were on course to restrict RCB to about 180. But line and length went out of the window in the face of an assault from AD de Villiers.
In reply, they went off like a rocket as a side with KL Rahul and Chris Gayle tends to do. From 101 for one in the tenth against an RCB side who are the worst in the competition in the field at the death, they were on course. And they were 1.705/7 with Nic Pooran blazing away with five to go.
But he got no support. David Miller produced a stinker at the other end with 24 off 25 to negate the West Indian's hard striking. They weren't even within hitting distance at the end.
Kings are unaffected by World Cup calls at the moment and should be able top pick from a full-strength squad.
The Rajiv Gandi International Stadium has looked okay for batting. The scores this term (1-2 denote matches won by side batting first or second, most recent first) read: 159-2/132-2/155-1/136-2/231-1/198/2. Chasing has been easier and that is a trend consistent across the last few years.
Sunrisers are 1.784/5 and Kings 2.1211/10. Although we respect Sunrisers' record at home we struggle to get involved at such numbers considering their form, consistently unreliable batting and loss of ability with the ball.
Kings are a fair shout, then, not least because with a fast start likely they can make a big impact on the odds in the first six, allowing an opportunity for all green.
They could go all the way. If the wicket is a little tacky - and Sunrisers may want to make Mohammad Nabi and Rashid Khan they key men - they can counter that with Ravi Ashwin and Mujeeb ur Rahman. Miller's go-slow is a worry, though.
Rahul and Warner wagers
Two of the most consistent IPL top-bat protagonists are in play here. Rahul is a 2/1 chance on career form and Warner 8/5. So what do Sportsbook offer? Value. Rahul is chalked up at 13/5 and Warner 15/8. It is tempting to consider betting the double at 9/1 but the true return for that double from a one unit stake would be 9.35 so it's difficult to swallow.
Pandey is in great nick for Sunrisers and has put Warner in the shade a couple of times. There will be plenty of takers of the 5/1. An alternative to Rahul might be Pooran at 8s given his decent hitting against RCB.