Bruised and battered after suffering a hat-trick of defeats, a desperate Sunrisers Hyderabad would seek inspiration from skipper David Warner to arrest any further slide when they take on Punjab Kings in an IPL match on Wednesday.
SRH couldn’t have asked for a worse start to the season as they slumped to three straight defeats, and in all occasions while chasing.
Punjab are a tad better than SRH, having registered one win out of three games to be placed at seventh in the standings, a rung above their Wednesday’s opponents.
Chasing has been Sunrisers’ achilles’ heel so far in the league. They failed to get past a low score against Mumbai Indians in their last match.
SRH have been hit hard by the lack of depth in their playing XI and below-par Indian bench strength.
In these circumstances, the onus rests on Warner to do some magic and inspire his side to bounce back in the tournament.
A big innings is due from the SRH captain as he has scored just 93 runs from the three matches he has played so far with the 54 against Royals Challengers Bangalore being the highest.
He also needs some serious introspection before deciding his playing XI on Wednesday.
Warner and Rashid Khan are certainties in the foreign players’ slots, but the absence of Kane Williamson has been badly felt as he can provide solidity to the middle-order, especially after they faltered in three consecutive chases.
Going by Wridhhiman Saha’s poor form, Jonny Bairstow is the frontrunner for the wicket-keeper’s position.
But what would be troubling Warner most is the lack of depth in the team’s local batting resources.
It’s high time the likes of Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad pulled up their socks as the likes of seasoned Kedar Jadhav and Priyam Garg are waiting in the wings for their opportunities.
SRH have also been hit hard by the poor show of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and T Natarajan.
Natarajan was replaced by Khaleel Ahmed in their last match and the latter did a good job to restrict Mumbai. But Bhuvneshwar continues to be on the expensive side.
Rashid has been economical but didn’t look menacing so far.
Punjab too are on a losing streak after the win in their tournament opener over Rajasthan Royals. They lost to Chennai Super Kings and Delhi Capitals.
But a below-par effort from their bowlers spoiled the hardwork of the openers.
Mohammed Shami has not been in his best form so far and leaked runs but what would be a concern for KL Rahul is the performance of Australian pace duo of Jhye Richardson and Riley Meredith.
Both Richardson and Meredith were expensive in all the matches they played without much success and it is time for Rahul to think of other alternatives like Chris Jordan.
Young Arshdeep Singh has been impressive for Punjab.
SRH: David Warner (C), Kane Williamson, Virat Singh, Manish Pandey, Priyam Garg, Wriddhiman Saha, Jonny Bairstow, Jason Roy, Sreevats Goswami, Vijay Shankar, Mohammad Nabi, Kedar Jadhav, J Suchit, Jason Holder, Abhishek Sharma, Abdul Samad, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Rashid Khan, T Natarajan, Sandeep Sharma, Khaleel Ahmed, Siddharth Kaul, Basil Thampi, Shahbaz Nadeem and Mujeeb ur Rahman.
Punjab Kings: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Mandeep Singh, Prabsimran Singh, Nicholas Pooran (wk), Sarfaraz Khan, Deepak Hooda, Murugan Ashwin, Ravi Bishnoi, Harpreet Brar, Mohammed Shami, Arshdeep Singh, Ishan Porel, Darshan Nalkande, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Jhye Richardson, Shahrukh Khan, Riley Meredith, Moises Henriques, Jalaj Saxena, Utkarsh Singh, Fabian Allen, Saurabh Kumar.
Match starts at 3:30 PM.