IPL: A clash of known enemies awaits Mullanpur : The Tribune India

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IPL: A clash of known enemies awaits Mullanpur

PBKS-SRH to play today in the first ever evening game at the stadium

IPL: A clash of known enemies awaits Mullanpur

Punjab Kings’ Jonny Bairstow and Liam Livingstone during net session in New Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky

Tribune News Service

Deepankar Sharda

Mohali, April 8

Having two wins each in their kitty, Punjab Kings (PBKS) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) will be looking ahead to climb up the IPL points’ table on Tuesday at Maharaja Yadavindra International Punjab Cricket Association Stadium at Mullanpur.

Both SRH and PBKS have two wins and two losses from their four matches and holding on to the middle of the tally with four points each. Both sides will be desperate to break out of the mid-table logjam first. It will be also a testing times for the young local players, as both teams have players from Punjab — who have played a good number of matches at the new stadium and are familiar with the conditions.

Sunrisers Hyderabad players during net session in New Chandigarh on Monday. Tribune photo: Vicky

SRH recorded the highest team total in the history of the IPL en route their win over Mumbai Indians and also notched up a convincing six-wicket win over reigning champions Chennai Super Kings, during their last outing. All eyes will be on the likes of Abhishek Sharma (who have represented Punjab on many occasions at this very ground) along with another bombarding opener Travis Head, Heinrich Klaasen and Aiden Markram.

“Definitely, our batsmen have performed very well in this tournament. And, Abhishek will surely have a home advantage here. He (Abhishek) has impressed the entire squad with his bating skills, and so have the others. We are not only relying on our batting line-up, but also on our bowling attack,” said James Franklin, SRH’s bowling coach. He further added, “Punjab Kings is a tough opponent and it (the match) will not be a cakewalk for us. The new ground looks pretty amazing and we are hoping for our first ever win,” he added.

PBKS too have plenty of big-hitting potential with their batting line-up boosting off Shikhar Dhawan, Jonny Bairstow, Liam Livingstone. But apart from the skipper, none has been able to consistently put up a show so far. Punjab will hope that their Indian players — Prabhsimran Singh (who also represented Punjab in domestic circuit) and Jitesh Sharma. Not to be forgotten, last match’s hero Shashank Singh will also be among their key player.

Punjab has a slight advantage in their bowling attack- lead by local lad Arshdeep Singh and South African pacer Kagiso Rabada. On other hand, the likes of Jaydev Unadkat, Mayank Markande and Bhuvneshwar Kumar supported by skipper Pat Cummins will be eager to perform their best.

Lucky to have next four games at home: Haddin

Meanwhile, PBKS Assistant Coach Brad Haddin said the side was confident of registering a series of wins in their next home games. “We have played one game here before, but it was a day game. It is a chance for us to now play here under lights for the first time. The players are excited. The crowd last time was outstanding, and we can feel the energy even more under lights. So it will be pretty special,” said Haddin. He added, “It was our first time playing a match under the venue. We understood 99 percent of what was going to happen as we held our pre-season camp here where we had all the facilities the whole time. But we wanted to see how the surface reacts if we bowl first. It was a great pitch that held up through to the end.”

PBKS will have their next four games at the same venue, having the distinct advantage of playing at the home ground, and Haddin admitted it might help them climb higher in the points table. “I think we are extremely lucky. We have the chance to now play four games on a surface which we understand better than most. I hope it might give us advantage on the points table as well.”

On SRH’s batting line-up, he said, “They score a lot of runs in the power play... But we think we match up pretty good with our bowling unit.”

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