Two sides vying for the fourth spot that’s up for grabs, Kings XI Punjab and Sunrisers Hyderabad will take each other on, on Saturday, in what could potentially be the most important match of IPL 2020 yet. A victory for either side would take them one step closer to sealing a playoff spot.
Kings XI Punjab - W W W
With just one win from their first seven games, Kings XI Punjab, last week, looked down and out of the competition but in what has thus far been a turnaround for the ages, KL Rahul’s men now, seemingly out of nowhere, have put themselves in prime position to qualify for the playoffs. Unlike their opponents on Saturday, KXIP control their destiny and will qualify to the next round should they win each of their remaining matches. They pulled off a near-perfect performance against Delhi and will enter Saturday’s clash brimming with confidence.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - W L L
After a hat-trick of defeats, Sunrisers Hyderabad were at their ruthless best on Thursday in Dubai as they thrashed a disorganized Rajasthan Royals side by eight wickets. SRH are not quite firing on all cylinders, but what will give them hope is the form of their middle-order, which took the side home versus the Royals despite both Warner and Bairstow perishing inside the first three overs. Jason Holder’s addition has been valuable too, so having already won one H2H game versus KXIP, SRH on Saturday will be aiming to do the daunting double.
Kings XI Punjab - Nicholas Pooran
Despite skipper KL Rahul notching up more runs than any other batsman in the entire tournament, it is Nicholas Pooran who has terrorized bowlers this season. The southpaw has struck a remarkable 22 sixes this season and his 295 runs have come at a mind-boggling strike rate of 183.22. In KXIP’s previous game versus DC, Pooran played perhaps the best counter-attacking knock of the season, versus the best bowling attack in the competition, and he will enter Saturday’s encounter in red-hot form. What will worry SRH is that it was against them, earlier this season, that Pooran brought up his highest score of the competition, a 37-ball 77 which included 7 sixes.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - David Warner
David Warner’s last X scores versus KXIP reads as follows - 52, 81, 70*, 51, 70*, 52, 59, 81, 58. That is right, Warner has scored a half-century in each of his last 9 innings versus Kings XI. Whether it’s just mere coincidence or if it’s their jersey that enrages him, no one knows, but there is something about KXIP that makes the southpaw quench his thirst. On Thursday versus the Royals, he was humiliated by Jofra Archer yet again, so having not made quite the impact so far this season, the SRH skipper would be eager to set the record books straight. What better occasion to get back to form than versus KXIP, against whom he averages 55?
Kings XI Punjab - Mohammad Shami
Shami’s wicket tally of 16 in 10 matches is second only to Kagiso Rabada, and the Bengal seamer has been the focal point in KXIP’s late resurgence. What will be spoken about, obviously, is his heroics in the Super Over, but really, Shami has been a beast across the last 15 or so overs he’s bowled. In the last three games, he’s taken a total of 6 wickets and versus Delhi, he managed to strangle the Capitals despite them having a well-set Shikhar Dhawan at the crease.so having almost single-handedly solved KXIP’s death issues, he will be roaring to tame yet another batting unit come the weekend.
Sunrisers Hyderabad - Rashid Khan
Such is the high standards Rashid Khan has set for himself, that people deem he’s had a ‘bad’ game the moment he concedes over 6 runs per over. He had one such bad game versus KKR, when he conceded 28 off his four, but he bounced back in style on Thursday versus RR with a trademark Rashid Khan spell - a 1/20 which included the wicket of talisman Ben Stokes. In 10 matches this season, Rashid has maintained a ludicrous economy rate of 5.47 and his imprints will be fresh in the minds of KXIP, who were bamboozled by the leggie in the previous H2H clash.
SRH: David Warner (c), Jonny Bairstow (wk), Priyam Garg, Manish Pandey, Vijay Shankar, Abdul Samad, Jason Holder, Rashid Khan, Shahbaz Nadeem, Sandeep Sharma, T Natarajan
KXIP: KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Nicholas Pooran, Glenn Maxwell, Deepak Hooda, James Neesham, Murugan Ashwin, Mohammed Shami, Ravi Bishnoi, Arshdeep Singh
Venue: Dubai International Stadium, Dubai
When to Watch: Oct 24, 7.30 PM IST
Where to Watch: Star Sports Network and Hotstar (in India)