When Sunrisers Hyderabad, the defending champions, take on Delhi Daredevils in the 21st match of the Indian Premier League 2017 on April 19 (Wednesday) on home turf, it will be fair to expect a cracking encounter.
Both teams enter the contest on the back of intensely close finishes on Monday. While Hyderabad pulled off a thrilling five-run victory, Delhi let Kolkata get past them with just a ball to spare.
With three wins from five games, Hyderabad find themselves in the third spot on the table while Delhi occupy the rung immediately below with two wins from four matches – this before Tuesday’s encounter between Gujarat Lions and Royal Challengers Bangalore.
Interestingly, in a tournament where captains have been largely inclined towards chasing, both sides have won two games batting first. In home games, Delhi have actually opted to bat first. Considering two of the three matches in Hyderabad this season have been won by the side batting first, it will be interesting to see which way Zaheer Khan goes should the coin flip in his favour.
In their previous match, Hyderabad overcame a 50-ball 95 by Manan Vohra to scrape through by a slim margin as Bhuvneshwar Kumar strengthened his position at top of the wicket-takers’ charts with a spell of 5 for 19, his best figures in the shortest format.
His form bodes well for Hyderabad. With 15 wickets from five games, he is comfortably above the competition. Next on the list is Rashid Khan, Bhuvneshwar’s leg-spinning teammate, with nine scalps from five games. It goes to show that Hyderabad are well-equipped in the bowling department.
Their batting, however, has been cause for worry. David Warner is at the top of the overall batting charts with 235 runs from five games, 70 of which came in the previous innings. But Shikhar Dhawan, who aggregates exactly 100 lesser from as many games, is a distant second to Warner for Hyderabad. Yuvraj Singh has had his moments, but Hyderabad have been too dependent on their skipper and will have to look for consistent contributions from elsewhere.
Delhi have a strong bowling attack, led by the canny Zaheer, to exploit Hyderabad’s fragile batting. The visitors will look to get Warner early and instantly put pressure on the misfiring batting line-up.
The quality of Delhi’s bowling attack is undoubtedly high. Chris Morris and Pat Cummins have pushed the speed gun while also mixing things up, and Zaheer himself has scooped an impressive seven scalps from four games.
It is likely Delhi will look to bring back Shahbaz Nadeem. The left-arm spinner was dropped for the previous game despite having four wickets in three games, and, more importantly, an economy of 4.90. Mohammed Shami, who benefitted from his axe, was expensive. Delhi might consider playing Shahbaz in place of Amit Mishra since the legspinner hasn’t quite delivered the goods, though they will also weigh his familiarity with the conditions as well as the opposition, given that Mishra himself has played for Hyderabad in the past.
Delhi defeated Hyderabad in both games between the teams last season. Hyderabad will be keen to get one of their own back.
Played 8. Hyderabad 5, Delhi 3.
Head-to-head at Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Uppal
Played 2. Hyderabad 1, Delhi 1.