Sunday sees yet another fantastic day of IPL action on the cards for fans and punters alike! The first match of the day will see the Kings XI Punjab taking on the table-topping Sunrisers Hyderabad.
That will be immediately followed by a potentially season-defining match between the Mumbai Indians and the Delhi Daredevils.
Kings XI Punjab 5/4 | Tie 35/1 | Sunrisers Hyderabad 2/3
It’s top versus bottom in what is sure to be an entertaining clash in Mohali. Punjab still have a slim chance of reaching the playoffs but will have to win all their remaining games while Hyderabad will know that a win here will all but guarantee them a top four finish. Punjab come off a good win against Mumbai on Friday whilst Hyderabad were undone by Delhi in their last outing.
Punjab have not had a good season. From their initial captain, David Miller, failing to assert himself on his team or on the opposition, to the rest of the overseas players failing to perform, it has been a season to forget. Perhaps the only shining light has been Murali Vijay who has taken over the captaincy from Miller and has led from the front and by good example. His 372 runs in the tournament makes him comfortably Punjab’s top batsman and he has four fifties to his name so far with a high score of 89. Wriddhiman Saha has had an average season with the bat but has shown glimpses of what saw him get a call up to the Indian squad in 2014. The fact that he is Punjab’s second highest runscorer and has scored 156 runs fewer than Vijay shows just how the Punjab batsmen have underperformed. They will need more from Miller and Glenn Maxwell in their remaining games if they are to stand any chance of reaching the playoffs.
Bowling wise, Punjab have actually been decent. The two Sharma’s, Sandeep and Mohit have each taken 12 wickets and have led the attack superbly and economically. Axar Patel has also been good with the ball, taking 10 wickets at an economy under 7.5 while Marcus Stoinis, who has also been used as an opening batsman has taken 8 wickets and his 4/15 against Mumbai all but assured Punjab of victory. These four will be invaluable if Punjab are to upset the odds and beat a Hyderabad side with an exceptionally strong batting lineup that includes David Warner, who took them apart the last time these two sides met.
It is well known how important the form of David Warner and Shikhar Dhawan has been to the Sunrisers cause this season. They simply would be nowhere batting wise if these two had failed to show up this season. Looking elsewhere in the batting department, there really is not much to show for. Moises Henriques has been up and down the order and was used as an early season pinch hitter in the first few games but that move was put to bed because frankly a strike rate of 103 is not what a pinch hitter is all about. Kane Williamson has looked good since replacing Eoin Morgan but will also need to score a lot faster and Hyderabad may look to Morgan, who has a far superior strike rate, again for the latter part of the season. Outside of the top two, Hyderabad will need the rest of the batsmen to come to the party and perform against a good Punjab attack.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mustafizur Rahman have been two of the best seam bowlers this season and they have made sure that Hyderabad are always in with a chance of winning matches. They have taken 27 wickets between them which is almost half of all the wickets Hyderabad have taken this season. Henriques, Ashish Nehra and BB Sran have provided good back up and have all taken 9 wickets. What has been very impressive is how most of the Hyderabad bowlers have gone for under eight runs an over. Since getting smashed by De Villiers and Kohli in their first game and conceding 227, Hyderabad have not had to chase more than 143.
Verdict: Kings XI to win at 5/4.
The result of this match may well come down to who bats first and I expect the team that bats second to win the match which has been the trend this season. At the time of writing, 29 of the 43 games this season have been won by the team batting second. Punjab really impressed me in their last outing and I expect them to carry that momentum against a Hyderabad side who will be low in confidence after their loss to Delhi.
Mumbai Indians 7/10 | Tie 35/1 | Delhi Daredevils 23/20
This match sees two sides who have a good chance of reaching the playoffs squaring off in what will be a crucial encounter. Both on 12 points, each side know that they cannot afford a loss here as it is getting rather tight at the top of the table and momentum will be a crucial factor going in to the remaining fixtures.
Mumbai come off a loss at the hands of Punjab in which they were never really in the game. The loss of their top four for less than fifty runs curtailed their batting effort and allowed Punjab to pull off an easy chase. While they may have failed in their previous encounter, Mumbai’s batsmen have been impressive this season. Rohit Sharma has been excellent and has scored over 400 runs at a good average and strike rate. Amabati Rayudu and Jos Buttler have also had good seasons as has Parthiv Patel. Martin Guptill provides able back up should they seek to use him. Another plus is that Kieron Pollard seems to have found a bit of form and may be crucial to their chances.
Mitchell McClenaghan has been simply fantastic this season. He is the tournament’s top wicket taker with 17 victims and has taken three more wickets than the next best on the list. Backing him up well has been fellow New Zealander, Tim Southee and JJ Bumrah. The only issue with their bowling is that they have been guilty of being too expensive and have not chased a total of less than 150 runs this season which is something Delhi will be looking to take advantage of.
Delhi have been something of a revelation this season. The team who were complete outsiders at the start, now find themselves in third place with a spot in the playoffs looking quite likely. Quinton De Kock, Sanju Samson and Karun Nair have had great seasons with the bat while Chris Morris and JP Duminy have added some firepower to the middle order. Delhi will do well to keep going with the side that beat Hyderabad in their last game as they tend to make a lot of changes which has sometimes been their downfall.
Amit Mishra, Zaheer Khan and Morris have been important parts of the Daredevils bowling attack. Mishra has been exceptional and his legbreaks have fooled many a batsmen. Morris has been very economical and has bowled with surprising pace and stamina. Khan will want to do a bit more as his economy rate is far too high for the leader of a bowling attack.
Verdict: Mumbai to win at 7/10
I can’t look past Mumbai here despite their disappointing loss to Punjab on Friday. They very rarely lose two in a row and Sharma will be wanting to make amends for his recent form. Delhi’s batsmen will need to be in top form here but in the end I think Mumbai’s bowlers will have what it takes to keep them quiet.