Two superstars of T20 cricket are set to collide in a tough clash at the PCA Stadium, Mohali. Chris Gayle owns most of the batting records while Rashid Khan seemingly sets one after each game. The battle between these two legends will be a sub-plot in this clash of North and South.
Both the sides endured losses in the previous match. While KXIP left too many to get any in the end overs against CSK, SRH was wrecked by the debutant, Alzarri Joseph. The failed chases will sap the confidence of both these sides. They have a few areas which need to be worked out and this game is likely to be their first destination on the path to wellness. Here are three key battles from the 22nd IPL game.
Chris Gayle versus Rashid Khan:
The most destructive batsman against the most guileful spinner, it’s a highly anticipated match-up. Gayle’s rate of hitting sixes is unprecedented in T20 cricket, and Rashid Khan’s rate of taking wickets is unmatched in T20 cricket. Their confrontation will light up the game. In the last season’s Mohali game, Gayle had hammered four successive sixes off the leggie. Rashid conceded 55 runs in his four overs on that night. This time, the Afghan will be wiser.
R Ashwin against David Warner:
KXIP captain Ravichandran Ashwin has the penchant for bowling in the powerplay. The off-spinner is comfortable with the new ball and has a slew of deliveries up his sleeves. At Mohali, he will be up against one of the best openers in the IPL. David Warner is hungrier than ever. The Australian opener is back with a bang from his year-long suspension; he is making every run that he missed last year. The encounter between the Orange cap holder and the spin master will be a delight for cricket fans.
Struggle in the middle:
A common problem plagues both these teams: their middle order is not firing. Both KXIP and SRH are heavy at the top with a fledgling middle order. For Punjab, Sarfaraz Khan has scored runs but not at the required pace. David Miller and Mandeep Singh are yet to make an impression in this season. Hyderabad’s middle order collapses faster than a house of cards. Manish Pandey, Yusuf Pathan and Deepak Hooda have had a forgettable season so far. Both the middle orders will be hoping to get themselves out of the rut.