Sharjah: Kings XI Punjab are on a roll and their impressive back-to-back victories have sent shock waves to all their rivals in the Pepsi Indian Premier League (IPL) 2014.
It is under these circumstance that Sunrisers Hyderabad, who lost their first match to Rajasthan Royals, take on Punjab at Sharjah Cricket Stadium on Tuesday.
The spirits of the Punjab team are very high, while Hyderabad believe their team’s fighting spirit is enough to stop any opponent. However, George Bailey, the Kings XI skipper, is not willing to get carried away by his team’s impressive start.
“We will take a lot of confidence out of these wins. Having said that, we have relied on two extraordinary innings from the same two guys [Glenn Maxwell and David Miller]. Long may they keep that up, but realistically it’s not going to happen every time — much as we hope it does,” the Australian batsman said.
“But we’ve also got to be bowling a little better, fielding a little better, so that we don’t put ourselves into these situations where we are chasing such big totals.”
Though Maxwell and Miller have spread fear through their whirlwind batting, Hyderabad made sure to remember that they have a batting line-up that includes the likes of skipper Shikhar Dhawan, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Darren Sammy, all of whom can thrash any bowling attack.
Sunrisers coach Tom Moody said: “One of the exciting things from my point of view is that, in a match leading into the start of the tournament, we played Delhi Daredevils and Shikhar scored a magnificent 90. And working with him in the last few days in the nets I have realised that he is hitting it as sweetly as I remember hitting the ball.
“At the same time it is not all about Shikhar, we have a number of top order batsmen to put their hands up and take responsibility.”
Dhawan is confident the team’s batsmen will click, even if he doesn’t strike form. “It is a great boost of to have Finch and Warner. When we are building a partnership, if I am not timing the ball well then I can take it easy as another batsman can hit out and take off the pressure,” he said.
“Now we have lots of boys like Venugopala Rao, who is playing amazingly well, and we have Sammy at the end. So we have a complete side and we can distribute duties to everyone.”
Bailey is prepared for any eventuality as he knows that Hyderabad have a strong batting line-up. When asked whether his team really are favourites to win the tournament, Bailey said: We’ve played two good games but it’s a long tournament and there are a lot of good teams. I don’t think there’s a weak side in the tournament. It’s just about being consistent.”
Kings XI Punjab vs Sunrisers Hyderabad
At Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Starts 6.30pm. Live telecast on OSN Sports Cricket HD