Punjab Kings would hope to forget the ghosts of Tuesday night’s defeat as soon as possible, and the weekend presents a perfect opportunity for the same as they clash with Sunrisers Hyderabad at the Sharjah International Stadium. Currently sitting seventh and eighth respectively on the points table, the game on Saturday will have huge ramifications for both sides if they are to keep the playoffs dreams alive in the 2021 VIVO Indian Premier League. 

For KL Rahul and co, the clash against SRH is a virtual do or die one, with a win being extremely important to keep the franchise in the hunt. 

Aamne Saamne

Sunrisers Hyderabad

Punjab Kings

12 wins

5 wins

The 2016 champions have a better head-to-head record against Punjab Kings, and were the winners the last time these two franchises locked horns in 2021. Nevertheless, the spoils have always been shared in the league stages when PBKS have played against Hyderabad since 2018. KL Rahul’s side will fondly remember last season where they managed to defend a meagre total of 127, and would use that as motivation to get another win under their belt come Saturday. 

Batting de Baadshah

Manish Pandey

KL Rahul

210 runs

380 runs

Jonny Bairstow is the leading run getter for Sunrisers Hyderabad at the moment, but the Englishman opted out for the UAE leg of the competition. In his absence, Manish Pandey remains the top run scorer with 210 runs in six games. The middle-order batsman has two fifties so far in the competition, and would have a point to prove in these final games after missing out on the India squad for the T20 World Cup. 

KL Rahul was the Orange Cap winner in 2020, and could be on course to retain that accolade this time around too. The Punjab Kings skipper is a little over 40 runs behind leading run getter Shikhar Dhawan despite playing a game less, and made a good start to life in the UAE as well with a good score against Rajasthan Royals. The 29-year-old remains the talisman for Punjab Kings going forward, and would be keen to get another big score to help his team come Saturday. 

Bowling de Kings

Rashid Khan

Arshdeep Singh

11 wickets

12 wickets

Rashid Khan continues to impress in the IPL, continuing to top the wickets chart for the Sunrisers Hyderabad. The leg spinner has conceded just 43 runs in his last three games against Punjab Kings, picking up six wickets as well in those matches. Rashid Khan has been a tricky customer for opposition teams in the IPL, and the Punjab Kings batters will look to play the Afghan bowler with caution come Saturday. 

Arshdeep Singh has been a real revelation for Punjab Kings this year, consistently hitting the right lengths in the death overs and picking up crucial wickets. The left-arm seamer claimed his first IPL fifer on Tuesday against Rajasthan, and would be full of confidence going into the weekend. Arshdeep delivered figures of 3/23 the last time Punjab played Sunrisers Hyderabad in UAE, and his franchise would be optimistic for a similar performance against Kane Williamson’s team.

Mudde di Baat

Placed seventh and eighth currently on the points table, the game is a virtual do or die for both sides as the loser would almost be out of contention for a playoffs spot. Both teams lost their opening game in UAE, and will be looking to make amends come the weekend. 

For Punjab Kings, they’d take heart with the venue change from Dubai to Sharjah, as they have won all but one of their games at that iconic stadium. KL Rahul’s side played well for most parts on Tuesday but for the final over, as compared to SRH who were convincingly beaten by Delhi Capitals. With a lot riding on Saturday’s clash, the team that can play better under pressure would most likely come out on top in Sharjah. 

Yaad Rakhiyo

  • Chris Gayle has 10 sixes in his last two innings’ at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium
  • Ravi Bishnoi has dismissed David Warner twice already while conceding just five runs against the southpaw. 
  • Mayank Agarwal averages 74 with the bat in his last four games in the IPL. 

Probable XI

KL Rahul (c & wk), Mayank Agarwal, Chris Gayle, Aiden Markram, Mandeep Singh, Shahrukh Khan, Fabian Allen, Ravi Bishnoi, Mohammed Shami, Nathan Ellis, Arshdeep Singh. 

Following the defeat on Tuesday, one can expect a few changes in the Punjab Kings team. Chris Gayle could get a game given the small boundaries at Sharjah, with Nicholas Pooran missing out. On the bowling front, Nathan Ellis could be given a chance instead of Adil Rashid. Shahrukh Khan and Mandeep Singh also could slot in to strengthen that middle-order. 

NOTE: The aforementioned line-up is an educated guess at best, and the final decision rests with the captain and the team management depending on various external factors.