Hyderabad: Sunrisers Hyderabad and Kings XI Punjab both will look to avoiding a hat-trick of defeats when they face each other in an Indian Premier League (IPL) contest at the Rajiv Gandhi International Cricket Stadium here on Monday.
While defending champions Hyderabad have lost to Kolkata Knight Riders and Mumbai Indians in their last two matches, Punjab suffered defeat at the hands of Delhi Daredevils and Kolkata Knight Riders.
Both Hyderabad and Punjab had very good starts and they will have to repeat those heroics as the campaign moves into the middle part.
Both the sides will expect their batting units to fire in unison as they have let down their teams in the past two matches.
With power-hitters like Glenn Maxwell, David Miller and Eoin Morgan in good form, Punjab can hope for another good start from Hashim Amla and Manan Vohra. Wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha can also use the long handle at will which makes them a good batting unit.
On the bowling front, medium pacer Sandeep Sharma and left-arm spinner Axar Patel have delivered more often than not in this IPL while veteran Ishant Sharma and Varun Aaron will also have to step up.
Captain Maxwell said after the loss to Delhi, who won by 54 runs: "The weaknesses tonight were basically everything. Batting, bowling, fielding; everything was pretty average."
About his side's bowling, Maxwell said: "It is not about the quality of our bowling, it is about bad execution on the day. Last two games we haven't executed our plans, it's as simple as that."
For Hyderabad, whose two wins came at home here, it will be a matter of comfort to play at this Uppal stadium after two tough away games.
Batters David Warner, Shikhar Dhwan, Yuvraj Singh and Moises Henriques will be important. Yuvraj is the leader of an inexperienced middle-order and he needs to raise the bar again to maximise the good starts from Dhawan and Warner. Middle-order Deepak Hooda hasn't lived up to the expectations and that can be a worry for coach Tom Moody.
Seamers Ashish Nehra and Bhuvneshwar Kumar and young Afghan leg-spinner Rashid Khan hold the key and they need to continue to deliver.